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Football Governance

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Parliamentary Group Backs Blatter Plan

Following a year-long investigation into the state of English football, the All Party Parliamentary Group is expected to back Sepp Blatter's plan for a 'six plus five' rule. This would require each team in the Premiership to field a minimum of six players eligible to play for England. The Premier League has dismissed the plan as unworkable and argued that it is incompatible between European law that protects freedom of movement for workers between member states.

Easter Day Football Matches Kick Off Row

Holiday football matches used to follow a particular pattern. On Christmas Day a club would play a team, not necessarily in their own part of the country. However, there were Christmas Day trains in these days and on one occasion returning Charlton players won a drinking contest with the restaurant car staff. Hung over or not, the return fixture would be played the next day. On Good Friday and Easter Monday, this pattern would be repeated, but with a match on Easter Saturday in between! At least that was the case in London.

UEFA Denies Fair Play Tax is Attack on Premiership

Uefa have denied that their plans for a fair play tax are the latest shot in a campaign to undermine the English Premiership. Europe's richest football clubs, many of them in England, would have to pay a luxury tax on their star players that would be passed on to poorer clubs under plans being considered by Uefa. The tax idea is an attempt to redistribute wealth in a sport Uefa believes is heavily dominated by powerful teams such as Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Sepp Blatter Forecasts Economic 'Tsunami'

Anyone who follows football is familiar with the agenda of Fifa president Sepp Blatter. He, like Michel Platini, resents the success of English clubs in the Champions League (even though both of them may deny it). He also does not like the involvement of big business in football. It is therefore no surprise that he should welcome the global financial crisis as an opportunity to return football to what he sees as its roots, although some of us are sceptical about whether the era of rule by local small businessmen who invested nothing in the team or the stadium was such a golden age.

Platini Determined To Limit Spending

Uefa boss Michael Platini is determined to level up the playing field in football by introducing restrictions on spending. He wants to revamp the rules to exclude clubs that failed to meet certain financial requirements from participating in lucrative European competitions. Platini denied that he was targeting Premiership clubs, arguing that many clubs across Europe were in a similar financial position, Nevertheless, the Premiership would be disproportionately affected.

Smith Wants Rangers Out Of Scotland

Glasgow Rangers manager Walter Smith has revealed that the club would be prepared to field a 'B' team to fulfill their Scottish League obligations in order to bridge the gap with Europe's elite clubs. The Rangers manager has floated the idea of an updated version of the Atlantic League, an idea unsuccessfully advanced in the late 1990s by the continent's geographically handicapped. He foresees a new European league made up of the top sides in Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia and Scotland, running in parallel with the domestic divisions and providing entry to the Champions League.

Quota System For Home Grown Players

Football League chairmen have voted to bring in what is thought to be the only quota system on foreign players anywhere in Europe. The new rule requires that four of the 16 players in a matchday squad should be 'home grown'. Foreign players registered in England for three years before their 21st birthday would qualify as a domestic recruit. The rule will have little immediate effect as all but two of the 72 Football League clubs already comply. However, Football League chairman Lord Mahwinney insisted that this was just the start.

Mawhinney's Salary Cap Plan

Lord Mawhinney, chairman of the Football League, is proposing to extend the salary cap that already operates in Coca-Cola League Two. It is linked to the percentage of turnover. Thus, a club arriving from the Premiership with parachute payments, would have the best part of £12.5m to spend on wages, while the likes of Doncaster Rovers would have roughly £3.5m. So the three relegated clubs would very likely to be returned to the Premiership each season because the others are effectively handicapped.

Premiership Agrees To Debt Probe

Barclays Premier League officials have signed up to a voluntary investigation into debt levels among their clubs as part of their efforts to head off threats of regulation by Europe. Top clubs have been threatened with explusion from the Champions League as Uefa rails against the overwhelming success of Premiership clubs. Premier League officials are taking a leading role in a new Association of Professional Football Leagues (APFL) formed to represent the senior leagues in all 27 member states of the European Union.

Britain Defeats French Threat To Premiership

Britain has fought off an attempt by France to use its rotating presidency of the European Union to impose a French-style regulatory system on British clubs. The real target was the English Premiership and the prime mover was not French president Nicolas Sarkozy or even sports minister Bernard Laporte but Uefa president Michel Platini who has made no secret of his hostility towards English football. The French plan was to establish a supranational body modelled on the French regulator, the Direction Nationale du Controle de Gestion (DCNG).