Issue How six plus five will change football

As told by Michael Wood

England are – as I type – strolling to a win over Trinidad & Tobago currently having put three past Clayton Ince but missing David Beckham’s passing in the second half of a friendly we are playing to allow us to make better mates with FIFA’s number two Jack Warner.

That yellow card for Steven Gerrard in the first half was probably about that too.

Warner is second to Sep Blatter the Brazilian who wants to implement a six plus five policy that would mean that teams of all nations must have at last half dozen nationals on the field with up to five from overseas. It will never work – we are told – because of European Law let alone the will of the big clubs that tend to have a say in these things.

Blatter is looking into the proposal and it is very doubtful he will get it past the EU although at present England and other leagues have a eight plus three policy where the eight are European Union passport holders and the others can be made up of those without. Donovan Ricketts, Omar Daley and Willy Topp are three. Blatter may end up pushing on that policy that will mean that in Germany and France you must have six Italians and Englishmen (or Germans and Frenchmen) and can fill the team with those world wide.

However Blatter trump card in these circumstances – and his move that would change the game – would be to accept the restrictions of the EU in those countries and not in others meaning that those in Africa, in Argentina, in Australia, in America will be bring their own talent through.

So as the English and Spanish fill leagues with the cream of Europe the league in Argentina is building up their squad. The Japanese J League has many, many Brazilians but is credited as improving the quality of the national team and the K League in South Korea does the same. Should you be of the believe that Blatter’s plan would improve national teams then how many national associations in the EU will worry as improvements in countries like Mexico, in South America, in the USA start to make wins in intercontinental games harder to come by.

The best players from the top European nations are always going to get games and the likes of Italy are secure in the idea what they will get their first eleven playing first team football at a top side but will top 25 ranking sides Sweden, will Poland, will Russia feel the same when a raise in quality means that they are slipping down? What about top 15 sides like Scotland and England?

Of course this all depends on the belief that six+five will improve a national side but if Blatter is right and it does then how long until the Europeans who stand against it begin to become advocates