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6+5 or 4+4 = Inter 2009?

BlatterToday Joseph S. Blatter, the president of FIFA had a press conference to explain why he feels that "6+5 Rule" is integral for the future of soccer, especially in Europe. Under this rule, clubs will have to field 6 players at each match who are eligible for the national team of county the club is from. In addition, Blatter would like to increase the amount of time a player must wait to change nationalities from 2 years to 5 years. The rule would go into effect by 2011.

The biggest impediment to the adoption of this rule is the European Union who feel that it will only end up in litigation and struck down anyway. The EU feels that rules such as this limit market access for players wishing to play in other EU states and so break rules concerning the free movement of workers (ie Boseman).

Instead, the EU prefers the "4+4" or "Home-Grown Player Rule," a UEFA regulation that began in the 2006-07 season. For that first season, clubs taking part in the Champions League and UEFA Cup had to include 4 players from club's youth academies on their 25-man squads. Note: I don't think there is a rule that any of them actually have to play in the game, just be on the roster.

Also, the "home-grown" player must have spent at least 3 years in that club's youth system and started when he was 15 to 21 years old. This year the rule bumped up to 6 and next year it will bump up to 8 (hence the 4+4). Because all of this is nationality-neutral, there are no legal issues.... Yet.

Blatter doesn't like this rule. He does not think it goes far enough to stop the talent strip-mining that has been occurring in Africa and South America. So, now, if he cant get an actual rule, he wants a "gentleman's agreement" on the matter among the national associations. How on earth do you police a "gentleman's agreement?" Really, white feathers and duels?

As fan, this is an issue that I have been following for quite some time. It has huge implications for every team, especially my team.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely do not think the EU will allow Blatter's 6+5 rule as it has been conceived. In fact the EU Assembly has rejected Blatter's proposition and want FIFA to embrace UEFA's rule instead.

I dont think Blatter will let this go, though.

So, what is it to be? The continuation of the "4+4" or "6+5" ?

For Inter, the 6+5 rule would mean a completely different team by 2011. I do not know what the requirements are to play for the Azzurri. After much research, all I can say is that my Italian is not up to legal documents (Yikes). I bet, though, that only 1 of our players is eligible - Marco. Next year we may have at least 2 more (Balotelli and Locatelli), but that still would not be enough. Also, unlike the 4+4 rule, these players would actually have to play. So, we would need at least 10 (6 to field, 4 for back-up) kick-ass, Inter-quality Italian (whatever that means) players by 2011. Is that even possible?

The "4+4" rule is already in place and humming along quite nicely. Every CL or Cup game the big teams trot out their youth players to sit on bench and watch the fun. I think a few of ours even played a bit this year. Since this rule does not affect league games, though, I wonder how much it actually ensures that young players stay with the clubs that trained them. Does this rule actually do what it is supposed to? That is, does it protect the "nationalness" of teams? I just don't think so.

So there it is. Any thoughts?

Oh, and in actually Inter specific news:

After a hard-fought game we prevailed against Lazio and will meet Roma for the Coppa Italia final (again). I didn't post a recap as Francesco did such a great job on the main Serie A page.

Cruz Behrami

Cruz apologized to Kolarov and says he is sorry for anything he might have done on the pitch yesterday:

"Mi dispiace, ma è un episodio che fa parte del gioco .... in campo succedono anche molte cose che non si vedono; la prova tv? Non so ma non ho fatto nulla di male".

which I translate to:

"I'm sorry, but it is an episode that is part of the game. Many things happen on the field that they do not see. TV proof? I do not know but I have done nothing wrong."

So far no suspensions have been announced related to the incident and there are no disqualified players for Siena this Sunday (yet).

Allora ragazzi, domani parliamo di Siena
Forza Inter