Arsène Wenger has voiced his opposition to Sepp Blatter's plan to impose a quota system on football in Europe.
Once again the FIFA president has talked publicly about restricting every starting XI to just five foreign players in a bid to develop indigenous talent. It is not certain whether EU law would permit such a ruling but the issue dominated the Arsenal manager's pre-match press conference on Friday. Wenger would be hit more than anyone by this idea. He has named 11 starting line-ups in the Premier League and Champions League this season, only three have included an Englishman. Naturally he was opposed.
"I would not be very happy [if it happened] because I feel sport is linked with quality," he said. "Our purpose is to push the level of the game as high as we can to give people entertainment. If one day you say 'sorry, you cannot play. I know you are better but you are not from the right place', then I would not be happy.
"Let's not be hypocrites. You [in England] have
the biggest economical power, and that means you attract the best
players in the world. The best players in the world make what? The
best Premier League in the world. But who can pay the consequences
of it? Maybe it's the English national team. However that is
"Look at Brazil. They are the reverse of England. They do not have enough economical power, so all the players go abroad. But they all go back for the national team so it does not pay any price for it at all because the players play in the best leagues.
"For me this [ruling] will protect the bad players, or
those who are not good enough. But if the best English players play
with the best world class players, then they will be even better
and develop quicker.
There is the principle of a child who is very gifted - if you put him in a bad class, he goes down; you put him in a good class and he goes up. In football it is just the same."