Date: 31st May 2008 at 11:58am
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It’s being reported that six of the 12 SPL clubs are against FIFA’s proposals to implement this new rule as from the 2013/14 season. I wonder who they are?

According to Sepp Blatter and his posse of internationally recognised revolutionary geniuses (!), the rule to enforce clubs to have six players from their own country on the field of play at any one time will greatly benefit the sport around the world, particularly when it comes to international competition.

There’s definitely an argument to say that the rule could help the likes of Scotland to bring through more young talent if they have much more of a genuine chance of playing for the top clubs here, and you’d also have to imagine that there’s also the potential for it to help the level of competition increase in our own domestic league.

Although the gap at the top of the SPL continues to be ridiculously wide between the Old Firm and the rest, I think we can safely say that our two biggest clubs have been considerably weaker in recent times, particularly Rangers. Is it a coincidence that this has happened at a time when the money that used to go on signing big names from abroad on huge contracts has dried up, leaving them with little alternative but to sign the best that our own country has to offer? I would think probably not.

Therefore if every club in the league was forced to fill at least half of their team with homegrown players, isn’t there every chance that the playing field could be somewhat levelled? And although the initial standards may drop as a result, in the long-term perhaps it can only help to gradually raise the standard of your average Scottish player breaking through to top-level football.

I say this because the days of the Old Firm signing young Scottish players only to freeze them out of football during their most important years (Derek Riordan, Paul Ritchie, Kenny Miller, Allan Johnston are just a few example) could well become a thing of the past. This could surely only help our game.

So with this in mind, I’d say it was a safe bet that the Old Firm clubs will make up two of the six who are against this new rule, and I’d say that the other banker is our own club, Hearts. Could you seriously see Mr Romanov and co being happy about having such a restriction placed on their plans to showcase players from their own homeland over here? Not a chance.

As for the other three, well, take your pick. There are several arguments against the new rule that do stand up too, not to mention the question of where the international labour laws sit in relation to this, so a lot of it could simply come down to your own interpretation of what might happen.

Sepp Blatter has come out with some controversial stuff in the past but I do think the reasoning behind this particular proposal has more sense to it than many of those. Anything that could potentially help our own domestic game as well as the national side can only be good…..or at the very least is worth considering.

But will it happen?