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Fifa president Sepp Blatter continues to champion his controversial 'six-plus-five' rule, despite fierce opposition, and is targeting having it in place by the 2012-13 season.

Sepp Blatter, in Sydney for Fifa's annual congress, said rules restricting the number of foreign players that any club can field at any one time could be in place from the start of the 2010-11 season, beginning with a four-plus-seven quota and progressing to six-plus-five by 2012-13.

And Blatter is nowe claiming that the plan has the backing of key European delegates.

The Swiss football politician cited the Premier League's dominance in this season's Champions League as a reason why Fifa 'must implement' the idea, despite legal opposition from the European Union and Uefa boss Michel Platini.

Insisting that Fifa would proceed "within the limits of the law", Blatter said: "It's 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 the others are just there to not be relegated.

"As [Newcastle United manager] Kevin Keegan recently said: 'I can only start my season to fight to be fifth or sixth or seventh. It is impossible for me to go into the final four'.

"At the end of the Champions League in Europe you have in the quarter-finals four teams of the same association; in the semi-finals three of these teams.

"Then in the final you are surprised that you have two teams of the same association?

"We want to bring some remedies and this is the six-plus-five rule's objective."

Blatter came out of two days of discussions by Fifa's executive committee convinced that the proposal would be accepted when the congress votes on it later this week.

"The executive committee unanimously supported the proposed resolution concerning the six-plus-five rule," he said.

"We've had confirmation by all the confederations, including Europe, that everybody favours the objectives of the six-plus-five.

"I'm convinced, now the confederations are in favour of such a proposed solution, it is a possibility.

"But we should do it not [with] confrontation but in discussions to try and find a solution.

"We would start, step by step, with four plus seven in 2010 and then 2011 five [plus six], then 2012 six [plus five]."

Blatter added: "We've just seen Manchester United's starting XI in Moscow with six players eligible for the English team on the pitch. And they won. Not bad."

Mark Hinton, Goal.com


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