Six-Plus-Five: FIFA Attempts to Restrict Foreigners


FifaIf you are like most people who just want to watch good soccer and don’t really give a damn about the governing bodies of the sport — I don’t blame you in the least. After all, most everyone who is a fan of soccer (or in any other sport,  for that matter) view their fanhood as a means of escaping the realities of the world; they use sports as a chance to breathe some fresh air and a chance to relax and enjoy free of the world’s worries.

Sadly, however, soccer’s international governing body FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) is always busy trying to implement changes and flex its muscles. One of the more recent ideas that FIFA has introduced is called the Six-Plus-Five Rule. Enacted at the FIFA Congress in Sydney, Australia in May 2008, the Six-Plus-Five Rule passed the vote by an overwhelming 155-5 majority (with forty abstentions).

So what is six-plus-five? It’s a proposal that would restrict the number of foreign players employed by any given team to no more than five starters out of the eleven total in the line up. Simply put, more than half of a team’s line-up must consist of homegrown domestic talent. The reasons for this action can be narrowed down to a couple of main causes.

First and foremost, leagues such as the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Spain’s Primera Liga and their member teams constitute some of the top soccer-spending nations and clubs in the world. Awash with money, the wealth of these leagues and clubs enable them to buy up the majority of the world’s top soccer players.

The only thing that has held them back is that a lot of the top players are reluctant to leave their homeland to play in a foreign land with a foreign language and have turned down large sums of money to stay put. Other than that stumbling block, the Premiership and other leagues are very well stocked with talent. Another concern raised by FIFA is that nations like Brazil, those countries which produce and exports a large percentage of the world’s top soccer players, threaten to overrun the transfer market in the years ahead.

Blatter      Six-Plus-Five is quite a disturbing scenario as it concerns the soccer world. There are few countries that actually favor such restrictions being implemented. The European Union calls this policy discriminating and unacceptable, arguing that it is illegal due to the EU right of free employment between member states for citizens of any member state.

These concerns are certainly valid. For those people who play soccer for a living… it’s a job, and who on earth can possibly tell a person where they can work and where they cannot? Everyone deserves the choice of working for an employer who offers them the most money and the best option to succeed in his or her career. I deserve it, you deserve it and so do these players.

Sepp Blatter and FIFA, it appears, are really starting to overstep their own boundaries. It needs to be understood that this is what FIFA wants — not what the many disparate groups that form the world soccer community want.

There is nothing underhanded or illegal about hiring the best players to give a team its best chance to compete and win. That is called freedom of choice — and FIFA ought not try and fix a system that isn’t broken. There is but one word which best sums up the Six-Plus-Five rule:


Posted 1/19/2009

by Christian Collingsworth


The ruling has since been scrapped as of June 2010 as the European Commission had said such a proposal would contravene EU labour laws. From 2011-2012 season, the Premier League will bring in a system where there must be eight home-grown players in a squad of 25.

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