Blatter in favour of 16 team leagues


FIFA president Sepp Blatter has stated his desire to implement a radical proposal that would limit Europe's domestic leagues to a maximum of 16 teams.

The 69-year-old, in an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper, also hinted that he would push for greater restrictions on foreign players in these leagues at next year's FIFA Congress.

"Ideally, each national league would have 16 teams," he said. "At our congress in 2007 we will discuss this, as the market and the players cannot cope with so much football."

The Bundesliga currently has 18 teams, while the top leagues in Spain, England, Italy and France have 20. Blatter believes most clubs are tired of playing so many games, and indicated that a ruling could be passed that forced the federations to comply with the reduction.

"FIFA can stipulate it and it is the wish of many clubs, but the FIFA need to order it otherwise it will never happen."

Zurich-born Blatter also suggested that foreign players are taking precedence over home-grown talent at many clubs in Germany and England.

On several occasions, Bundesliga and Premiership teams have been composed entirely of foreigners, a situation Blatter brands as "dangerous".

"We have to return to a point where, in the Bundesliga for example, there are at least six German players in each team. Six plus five is the formula for the future."

Blatter has long wanted a reduction in the European fixture list, and in 2003 his demand to limit the size of European leagues was roundly rejected by the national associations.