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Old 15th January 2008, 11:59   #1
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Default Scudamore rejects Blatter plans

Scudamore rejects Blatter plans
By Matt Slater
BBC, 14 January 2008

Premier League boss Richard Scudamore says any attempt to impose quotas for overseas players on clubs will fail and would not aid the national team anyway.

Scudamore told BBC Sport that Fifa president Sepp Blatter's idea for voluntary quotas was unworkable.

He also warned Blatter against interfering with laws on nationality.

"You can get yourself into difficult jingoistic, nationalistic, almost racist debates about who can and cannot play for your country," said Scudamore.

Interview: Premier League chief Richard Scudamore

"If the law of the land says you are nationally qualified, then you are nationally qualified, no matter what Mr Blatter says."

Scudamore was speaking to BBC Sport a week after Blatter accused the Premier League of hindering England's international prospects.

The Fifa boss claimed the Premier League's financial success came at the expense of the national team, largely because English youngsters were being deprived of opportunities in the increasingly cosmopolitan top flight.

Blatter has called for limits on the number of foreign players that clubs could field. But with European Union employment law effectively ruling this out, the 71-year-old Swiss was hoping the "football family" would adopt voluntary quotas.

The Premier League, however, has refused to back these calls and has vigorously defended itself against accusations that its worldwide appeal is incompatible with the national team's chances of success.

"Our responsibility is to put on the best possible show, with the best possible talent on the field and played in the best possible stadia," said Scudamore.

"That is our virtuous circle and from that all else flows. In our view, that sits very comfortably alongside what the England team are trying to achieve.

"We believe that our league has the best players in the world and English players benefit from competing in this environment. Our virtuous circle is capable of producing the 30-40 players that England teams have historically been picked from.

"Nobody is more disappointed about missing out on Euro 2008 than me, but if you look at the first team, we think that player for player they are good enough. And we are producing a sufficient number of players for England."

Scudamore dismissed Blatter's quota ideas as "artificial" and "protectionist", and said the real answer was to improve the quality of players coming through the English system.

He said every Premier League club was "intellectually and financially committed" to finding local talent but admitted much more needed to be done to improve coaching standards in this country.

Since taking over in 1999, Scudamore has helped the Premier League record enormous growth in terms of broadcasting revenues and global interest, particularly in Asia.

Already the world's richest football league, Scudamore believes the Premier League now trails only American powerhouses the National Football League and Major League Baseball in the global rankings.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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