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Blatter proposes doing away with summer break

The idea is to give a longer winter break that could be used for national team games.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2006 20:33 IST

Domestic leagues in European soccer should play through the summer months, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in an interview published on Monday.
The season should begin in late February and finish at the end of November, Blatter told Germany's Kicker magazine. The change would give clubs a longer winter break that could be used for national team games, Blatter said.

"I've just proposed to the clubs: play through the summer, make the season like the calendar year," the head of soccer's world governing body said. "This would leave enough time for players to recover and there could be blocks of three weeks of qualifying games in winter.

"This idea is supported by big European clubs," Blatter said. Blatter also said there should be more European groups with fewer teams for World Cup qualifying, leading to fewer games for national teams as urged by leading clubs.

On another issue, Blatter insisted his plan to restrict the number of foreign players on European club teams will eventually go into effect.

The so-called "6+5" formula will be introduced step by step, he said.

"The '6+5' is coming, for sure," Blatter said. Under the proposal, each club would be allowed to field six home players, plus five foreigners.

FIFA has reached an agreement on the formula with FIFPro, the worldwide union of professional players, Blatter said. Blatter said the formula would be applied only in Europe, citing an excess of foreign players.

"First, it will bring a higher identification between clubs and fans," he said. "Second, it would raise the opportunities for talents. And third, the clubs' finances would benefit if they take players from their own schools."

Such a rule would likely run afoul of the European Union's regulations on a free labour market.

Blatter appealed to the EU to stay out of soccer, but urged the governments' help in creating more transparency in the financial structures in international soccer and its transfer market. Blatter also rejected calls for a salary cap.