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October 05, 2007



I agree with you but one quick quibble. Although the power of the big english clubs may increase there should actually be a diffusion of power across europe and the rest of the world. France, Holland and Portugal would all be able to produce two or three teams to compete with the English, Spanish and Italian giants. And all the eastern european teams would have less barriers to entry in breaking up western european dominance. Still not worth doing but when you say it benefits the rich clubs aren't you being a tad anglo-centric.

Chris Clark

1: In a recent post you mentioned the increase in education and prosperity of developing countries that experienced "brain-drain" effects. Rather than list your arguements again, I'd say that the same should apply in terms of football talent to countries with weak domestic leagues. Mr. Blatter's proposals would therefore do a good deal of harm player development in those countries.
2: Countries with a weaker natinal league have a competitive advantage in producing the next generation of stars, because: a) they do not have the money to import the finished article and, b) teams are not generally PLCs with cash hungry shareholders to feed and $10000000 seperating 7th and 8th place. As A*****l have shown, a team does not need domestic players to be succesful (curses!) so if specialisation is carried to its natural conclusion, prem teams could just stop training up youngsters altogether. Is this unfair, fair or just tough cookie on young english players?
3: Your last comment on Cantona, Zola and Bergkamp is a bit sloppy as they would clearly not be affected by the Blatter's rule. You need to be asking whether or not the 6th and 7th choice overseas players are a positive influence.


Some of us, Mr D, are so old that we can remember when "a fat drunk" was often the 'midfield maestro' of many a top club i.e. the only bugger in the team capable of controlling the ball and passing it upfield to a bloke wearing the same colour of shirt. In most matches they play, the current England team seem to be devoid of anyone - fat or not, drunk or not - capable of such elementary skills.


Those collections of entirely British alkies had a nasty habit of wandering into European competitions and mullering absolutely anything they came up against.

Funnily enough, up until the mid seventies English footballers were not one iota less skillful than their continental opponents, Ajax apart, naturally, yet winning the European cup was apparently beyond them.

Once the game became all about heft and stamina English clubs couldn't stop winning it.

alexandre delaigue

B. Milanovic analyses the effect of EU regulations on soccer teams :


He shows that free movement of players between clubs increases inequality among european clubs. For national teams, the effect is the opposite : when good nigerians or bulgarians can play in Europe's best clubs, they improve and the national team captures this performance. The rent of traditionnal soccer countries with rich clubs(say, england, germany, or spain) is reduced, which benefits smaller nations.

Overturning Bosman would then advantage the english or german national team, and disadvantage rich clubs; Blatter, who has been elected in a not-so-transparent way, and who wants to be an advocate for big national teams, may not be such a moron after all.


If you restrict the supply of footballers, their price will rise.

But the supply of home grown talent will increase.


See: the Great Britain rugby league team of the early 1980s, when there was a ban on funny foreign imports. They didn't win a single test between 1982 and 1988.


Indeed, if clubs simply buy in talent from abroad, they will cease developing British youth team players who then turn into the next generation of British national team players. By at least guaranteeing a place for these youngsters they a) get to play with Zola et al and b) some cash goes into ensuring that the kids are any good in the first place. Surely?


Aside from the very good arguments in this comment thread, I'd play the 'cultural exception' card in Blatter's defence.

And another thing: Surely the global market for players has forced the price of them up anyway? Wouldn't Blatter's plan mean that a few very high-spending clubs wouldn't monopolise all of the talent. Wouldn't this actually drive prices down?

And what if big clubs have to pay more for indigenous talent? It would mean that Burton Albion's transfer receipts would go up - clubs with more local talent would benefit from a redistribution, and this is good, isn't it?

And anyway, echoing Scratch and Dearime, as a Forest fan, I have to say that the world was a better place when football was played by fat drunks. The saintly god-like genius of The Blessed John Robertson is exhibit A in that argument. Before or since, there never has been a football team that could match the poise or fluency of Forest circa '77-'80.



Good point above about the Milanovic analysis and inequality. What is ignored here is that the ending of the foreigners rules in the 1990s allowed richest clubs to hoard the best players so that football in Britain and Europe has become more one-sided, more predictable. Not long ago club sides from small but talented nations - like Ajax - could reasonably hope to hold on to most of their best players. East European sides like Steau Bucharest were formidable. As noted just above, a team like Forest could get promoted to the English top flight and win it. These things are inconceivable now; instead we have the behemoth of the "champions" league: sterile, predictable football in a format designed to ensure the big clubs won't fail. Losing restrictions on foreigners allowed clubs to avoid nurturing domestic talent and has produced football - at British domestic level and European level - that all too often lacks a serious competitive element.


Mind you, no-one has addressed the key point. England used to rely on Scots imports for its intelligent footballers - now it relies on the Rest of the World. What is it about English footballing culture that encourages a sort of professional stupidity?


"These things are inconceivable now; instead we have the behemoth of the "champions" league: sterile, predictable football in a format designed to ensure the big clubs won't fail."

Which is why Liverpool and Porto are both recent winners?


The other side of the argument is also weak - the national team was not so strong in the 1980s and 1990s when there were few foreigners. Look at the under 21s. They were recently beaten in the semi-final of the European Championships by the eventually Dutch winners. At least those young players get to play against the best.

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