Blatter calling for foreign quotas, would ‘6-plus-5’ rule work?

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter loves to open up a can of worms, doesn’t he?

On Friday Blatter has suggested that a previous plan to limit the number of foreign players in a clubs starting lineup should be revived to help national teams thrive.

The famous “6-plus-5” rule caused plenty of controversy a few years back, as the idea was shelved in 2010 as it was deemed as unworkable under European labor law. The 28-nation European Union proctets the free movement of workers, and that is why this ruling fell flat on its face in the past.

What the rule means is that at least six players in the starting lineup must be eligible to play for the home nation of the club in question. So, if these rules were to come in place then Chelsea would have to field at least six Englishman in their starting lineup, when at the moment the best they can offer is around four. Even that’s a push.

This topic has come back into the news after Blatter wrote the following in FIFA’s weekly magazine: “we have not heard the last word on this subject.” Blatter believes this is a good idea because it creates a close link between the clubs and their national team and helps to keep the identity of both intact.

Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini have butted heads on this topic many times in the past and it will only act to further fueld the flames before the next FIFA presidential election in May 2015.

Would it be a good idea for European clubs to adopt this rule?

I think so. In reality it has a long, long way to go to be implemented with many clubs reluctant to change their entire setup, but if done correctly then the vast academy and youth systems prevalent all across the top European leagues will again become relevant instead of an afterthought. Right now money is pumped into these schools of excellence without any real direction, other than hoping one or two players will make the grade every five years or so. If you had to rely heavily on players who are eligible to play for the country where your club is based, then you’d soon see clubs change their tune and look at their academies in an entirely different way.

Fans would be able to connect with their sides better and the national teams would benefit from a larger pool of players. Yet restricting how many players from each country can play for a single team becomes rather tricky, as the legal issues with the EU don’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon.

As Blatter said, we haven’t heard the last on this topic.

Blatter: 2026 World Cup should be in Morocco

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Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has backed Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid as he hit out at the joint-bid between the USA, Mexico and Canada.

The 81-year-old claims that joint bids for a World Cup are to be “rejected” after the 2002 World Cup and with voting for the 2026 hosts to take place on June 13 in an expedited process, it appears Morocco is gaining some traction among FIFA’s 209 member associations as the only alternative to a North American bid.

The U.S., Mexico and Canada bid to host the first-ever expanded 48-team tournament still seems to be the overwhelming favorite, but will comments like this help or hinder Morocco’s bid?

Blatter, the disgraced former long-time leader of world soccer’s governing body, is currently banned from all soccer related activity for six-years after being charged regarding a $2 million payment made between himself and the former UEFA President, Michel Platini.

Here’s the message Blatter sent out via Twitter, as the Swiss official is reportedly launching an appeal against his current ban which came after he announced he would step down as FIFA president in 2015 following several high level officials being charged with corruption by U.S. officials.

It is also worth noting that Blatter is still concerned about being extradited to the USA amid the ongoing FBI investigation into widespread corruption in the organization and doesn’t travel outside of Switzerland or Russia.

Brazil’s Gremio wins Recopa Sudamericana in penalty shootout

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PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) Brazil’s Gremio has won the Recopa Sudamericana, beating Argentina’s Independiente 5-4 in a penalty shootout Wednesday night.

The two-legged final ended 1-1 on aggregate, with no goals scored after 120 minutes in the second.

The winners of last year’s Copa Libertadores overcame the holders of Copa Sudamericana after goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe stopped the last penalty of the series, taken by Independiente’s striker Martin Benitez.

The Recopa is played between the champions of South America’s two most important tournaments.

Independiente played most of the match down to 10 players after defender Fernando Amorebieta was sent off after 38 minutes.

The Brazilians made most of the pressure until the end of extra time, but failed to score.

Gremio also won the Recopa in 1996.

CCL wrap: FC Dallas disappoints; Club America struts (video)

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The CONCACAF Champions League returned Tuesday with Toronto FC’s 2-0 quarterfinal first leg win in Colorado, and a trio of ties began Wednesday across Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Tauro 1-0 FC Dallas

Veteran striker Edwin Aguilar scored a big goal, and goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane did plenty of good things as the Panamanian side struck a wild first blow against its MLS visitors.

Here’s a random fact underscoring how remarkable of a failure this would be for FC Dallas: Only six of Tauro’s roster members have their own Wikipedia page.

Deportivo Saprissa 1-5 Club America

Cecilio Dominguez and Mateus Uribe each bagged a brace, and Renato Ibarra also scored as the tournament’s top team sauntered into and out of Costa Rica on Wednesday. Club America has been to seven CCL finals, and one every single one.

Motagua vs. Club Tijuana — 10 a.m. ET

Honduran hosts hope to have a leg to stand on — pun intended — once the tie heads to Mexico.

West Ham to friendly neighbors Dag & Red: “Will help save our club”

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English Conference Premier side Dagenham and Redbridge has seen better days, and is getting a hand from a Premier League pal.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

West Ham United will pay a visit to Dag & Red as part of the latter’s #SaveTheDaggers campaign, and the March 21 date will cost fans between $7 and $21 to see a top flight side at 6,000-seat Victoria Road.

Dagenham and Redbridge chairman Paul Gwinn said, “It really will help save our club.”

“So please come on down to the Chigwell Construction Stadium for an additional night of football. Bring a friend, or two, or more and we can use the gate takings to help get us back on track,” reads a press release.

Dag & Red was founded in 1992 and climbed as high as League One in 2011, and plays just 2.5 miles from West Ham United’s training ground. Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are among Dag & Red alums in the Premier League.

It’s a terrific gesture from West Ham, and is even more impressive in the United States where the growing club game is increasingly cutthroat (especially between non-synced leagues).