Uefa says that Fifa's proposed "6+5" rule to limit foreign players will never be applied in Europe. "It is a restriction based on nationality. It is not legal. We will not apply it in Europe," said William Gaillard, Uefa's director of communications and an advisor to Uefa's president, Michel Platini.
"We have our own rules in place," said Gaillard, speaking at the Play the Game conference at Coventry University. For Uefa club competitions, squads of 25 must include at least four players that clubs have trained themselves for at least three years between 16 and 21, plus at least four more trained by another club in the same country.
The system does not discriminate on grounds of nationality. Similar rules will be introduced by the Premier League from 2010 onwards. Fifa's President, Sepp Blatter, still wants a global 6+5 rule, which dictates at least six home-grown players musts start each club game.
Gaillard also refuted suggestions that Uefa is determined to "sort out" England's "big four" clubs to prevent frequent repeats of recent late-stage domination of the Champions' League by Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.
"We've never discussed ways to stop the English," he told The Independent.
"Dominance is cyclical. In the late 70s and early 80s, it was English clubs every year [winning the European Cup]. Before that Bayern Munich, before that Ajax won for three years, in the 50s it was just one club, Real Madrid.
"Which club is best is not something that spurs any kind of discussion at Uefa about measures to be taken. What we do discuss is sustainability and predictability."
While acknowledging the very different markets that preclude European football being structured like American sports, he praised USA's sports models, especially "in the socialist republic of the NFL".
"They are profitable, stable, have great attendances, good chances of winning across the leagues, no crooked agents, a good record of keeping unfit owners out, and have sustained performance in an economic crisis," he said.
Citing no specific examples, Gaillard said "leveraged" buyouts (LBOs) are a particular bugbear in European football, when owners use debt to buy clubs.
Manchester United and Liverpool were bought like this. Arsenal and Chelsea were not.
"What do LBOs add to football?" Gaillard said. "Nothing. We want financial fair play, hopefully by consensus. But if we can't get it by consensus, we'll enforce it through rules."Reuse content