FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was in the Belgian capital on Monday to speak to the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education about the 6+5 plan, a system that seeks to protect players who are eligible to represent their national teams and young footballers.
Having been given a mandate by the FIFA Congress in Sydney last May, the FIFA President told the European Parliament about the number of non-eligible players currently taking part in national championships and mounted a defence of the 6+5 initiative, which would require clubs to field at least six players eligible for the national team of the country in which the club is based.
Following the meeting, Blatter was joined by Belgian MEP Ivo Belet for a press conference during which a number of different issues came up for discussion, ranging from the need for controls on the ownership of clubs to the fight against racism in football.
As well discussing the burning issues of the modern game, the FIFA President also advocated the principles of the 6+5 plan and requested the support of Europe's decision-making bodies, the aim being, as he put it, "to encourage the protection of minors, combat trafficking, help clubs consolidate their identity and make competitions fairer."
Blatter also spoke of the potential benefits of implementing such a system. "FIFA will not take a decision that would bring it before the European courts. But while we would never do anything that went against the law, there are perhaps certain laws that may be open to different interpretations. Nothing is final in this world, not even laws, and for as long as I am FIFA President I will continue to promote this initiative. "
I have a mandate from the FIFA Congress, and in doing so, I can also count on the support of the International Olympic Committee and numerous team sports federations.
Blatter ended by pointing out that France, which currently holds the EU presidency, gave its support to the 6+5 plan when the French sports minister Bernard Laporte addressed the Parliament back in July.