SBD/Issue 174/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • FIFA Congress Supports Limit On Foreign Player Allotment

    FIFA Congress Votes In Favor Of Blatter's Plan
    To Limit Number Of Foreign Players On Team
    FIFA Friday at its annual congress in Sydney, Australia, voted "in favour of the 'six-plus-five' rule, which would put a limit on the number of foreign players" each club could field, according to the LONDON TIMES. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that he "hopes the controversial rule will be in place by the 2012-13 season." Blatter's plan, which would limit every club to only five foreign players in the starting lineup, "appears to be a step closer following the overwhelming backing" at the FIFA congress. Blatter has pointed to the English Premier League's (EPL) "dominance in this season's Champions League," in which it accounted for three of the four semifinal teams, as an "example of why his organisation must implement the idea, despite legal concerns" from the European Union (EU). Blatter said the purpose of the rule is to "make sure that there is better balance in the competitions and not only three or four teams in a league of 18 or 20 are fighting to be the champion and all others are just there to not be relegated." But despite FIFA's backing, the EU has "already indicated it would contravene European laws." FIFA's proposal is different from UEFA's "home-grown players" rule, which "defines home-grown players as team members who, regardless of age or nationality, have been trained by their club or by another club in the national association for at least three years between the ages" of 15-21 (TIMESONLINE.co.uk, 5/30). In Manchester, Les Roopanarine writes the plan passed by a 155-5 vote, with 40 abstentions. Blatter said the application of the plan "would start only at the end of 2010 and we would start progressively with four, five and six" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 5/30). Blatter next week will meet with European Parliament Chair Hans-Gert Poettering to "get his views on the issue" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 5/30).

    FACING OPPOSITION: Roopanarine writes Blatter is "likely to encounter stiff resistance from the European Commission, who have denounced the idea -- which would risk falling foul of regulations on free movement of labour and non-discrimination -- as illegal and discriminatory" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 5/30). In London, Geoff Meade wrote FIFA's plan has been "condemned as illegal" by the European Commission. EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs & Equal Opportunities Vladimir Spidla: "We are giving a red card to the 6 + 5 rule" (London INDEPENDENT, 5/29).

    DRUG TESTING: In London, Vicki Hodges reports FIFA at the congress also "formally accepted the revised [WADA] drug code." FIFA in the past had "resisted WADA's blanket two-year ban for first-time doping offences, saying that the length of any suspension should take into account individual cases" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 5/30).

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  • League Notes

    Official Says On Umpires Will Likely
    Not Be Used For Instant Replay
    In Houston, Jose de Jesus Ortiz reports MLB Umpire Supervisor Rich Rieker Thursday in a live chat on chron.com said that instant replay is "on its way but cautioned that pro baseball needs the highest standard in sports for using the technology." Rieker: "Replay is coming. If done properly we have an opportunity to set the gold standard in replay, learning from pros and cons from other sports. But we must do so in a fashion that will not delay the game further." Asked if the home plate umpire would "be the one to use the replay," Rieker said, "Probably not. Use of a possible replay official could come into play and we really don't want to take the umpires off the field to look at replays" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/30).

    DRAFT MONEY: MLB Exec VP/Labor Relations Rob Manfred said that when MLB team owners and the MLBPA meet for the next round of collective bargaining, he "plans to ask for a fundamental change to the compensation system for drafted players -- a scale that limits how much drafted players can make depending on where they are picked." Manfred: "It's hard enough (for a team) to know who the second-best player in the country is. To then have to factor in whether you can afford to sign him just makes it that much more difficult." MLBPA Dir of Communication Greg Bouris said that the players "rejected a mandatory cap on draft compensation in the last bargaining round but expect to revisit the issue" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/30).

    QUICK SALE: In New Orleans, Jimmy Smith reports 40,000 tickets were sold Thursday in 90 minutes for the October 26 Chargers-Saints game at London's Wembley Stadium. The tickets were "available to fans who were randomly selected from an initial large number of registered ticket requests." As a result of the demand, the NFL released an "additional 5,000 tickets for immediate sale." The league also said that there has been an "increase in the number of tickets that will be offered in the second sale of tickets to fans who registered in February, when the game was announced" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/30).

    ON THE WAY OUT? In Ft. Lauderdale, Charles Bricker reports the fate of ATP Tour Chair & President Etienne de Villiers will be decided after the tour's Hamburg tournament's lawsuit is settled, "probably sometime in early August, and it's not clear if [de Villiers] will have his contract renewed even if the ATP wins the case." Most of the top-20 players "have made it clear they want other candidates looked at before consideration is given to re-upping de Villiers." Bricker: "Things look bleak for de Villiers' future with ATP. No one goes looking for a new [CEO] if they're satisfied with the work and direction the current one is taking the tour" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/30).

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