Uefa scrap foreign player restrictions

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The Independent Online
European football's governing body, Uefa, last night scrapped restrictions on foreign players appearing in club competitions following a seven-hour meeting at a Heathrow hotel.

The Uefa president, Lennart Johansson, is confident survivors in this season's Champions' League, Cup-Winners' Cup and Uefa Cup will stick by their voluntary agreement to retain selection limits for this campaign.

Scotland's David Will, announcing the rule change, said: "Uefa has no intention to do anything but act within the law." He added there would be discussions this week with the European players' union to find common ground for an alternative structure which would have domestic interests at heart and also satisfy the Commission.

"The executive committee today recognise - as we had already recognised at the time of the judgement - that the nationality rule [the so-called three-plus-two rule] can no longer be applied at the level of domestic competitions within national associations," Will continued.

"In the light of these two factors, the committee concluded the rule was effectively obsolete and took the decision that it be lifted with immediate effect in European club competitions.

"The transfer system has evolved over 100 years and nationality rules have been in existence for at least 30 years and it will take time to replace these. We have in mind a kind of concept of 'the home grown player'. Teams may consist of, say, 50 per cent players who have been home grown and have trained and come up from youth."

Will also took into account the main Bosman ruling that players out of contract can no longer command a transfer fee.

"Somehow we have to find money for youth training," he said. "Until now it has been provided by the transfer system by funds cascading down from the biggest clubs. We have to find a way of replacing that. It will take weeks to work out, but we could have a percentage going into a pool which would then be paid out to smaller clubs to assist with youth training. Or we could have a system for players up to the age of 25 whereby the original club will receive recompense for the outlay on training and education."

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