FIFA Congress supports objectives of 6+5

Convening today in Sydney, the 58th FIFA Congress voted with a significant majority (155 yes, 5 no) in favour of a resolution on 6+5 (see resolution below).

In his address to the Congress, the FIFA President had stressed: "We do not want to go against the existing laws. Regarding Europe, we want to use the legal basis of the Treaty of Lisbon, which acknowledges the specificity of sport and its structures and organisations, and comes into force on 1 January 2009. We want to go for consultation, not confrontation".

Before the vote, several speakers expressed their support for the objectives of 6+5. Michel Platini, UEFA President, declared that "6+5 is considered illegal within the European Union. [But] UEFA totally shares the philosophy and objectives of 6+5. UEFA fully supports the resolution presented. We will do everything to help the FIFA President to defend the objectives presented today."

Franz Beckenbauer, chairman of FIFA's Football Committee, said: "Everybody regrets that England will not be represented at EURO 2008. We had thousands of English fans in Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. They contributed to the party. It is unfortunate that they will not take part this time. It is not only England that is affected by the current situation. Other countries are concerned. Maybe it will be Germany soon. We debated 6+5 within our Football Committee and every member was in favour of this idea. We need to find an arrangement with the European Union."

Theo van Seggelen, Secretary General of FIFPro, a body that unites 60,000 professional football players all around the world and not only in Europe, mentioned: "Before becoming professionals, players need good training. Clubs need to invest time and money in the education of players. Training is necessary. But playing is necessary too. The career of a professional player is only complete when he has played for his club for at least a couple of years, and we prefer it when it is with the club where he was trained. FIFPro calls upon the Presidents of FIFA and UEFA to continue to explore all possible means - within the limits of the law - to achieve the objectives of 6+5."

The member associations of Australia, Guatemala and Saudi Arabia also spoke during the Congress and advocated 6+5, confirming that the objectives it aims at reaching do not concern only Europe but other continents as well.

Resolution adopted by the FIFA Congress

The FIFA Congress, at its meeting in Sydney on 29 and 30 May 2008, decided to:
- fully support the objectives of "6+5 " as laid down at the above Congress,
- request the Presidents of FIFA and UEFA to continue to explore for Europe, together with the world of sport - football's protagonists, but also the international Olympic Committee and the international federations - all possible means within the limits of the law to ensure that these crucial sporting objectives be achieved,
- give the FIFA President the mandate to, if necessary, take similar steps on the other continents in cooperation with the relevant Confederation.

Background of 6+5
- The foundations of football are harmony and balance between national team football and club football,
- The clubs' loss of national identity is endangering the former and has led to increasing inequality among the latter, thereby widening the financial and sporting gap between the two, reducing the competitiveness of club competitions and increasing the predictability of their results,
- Safeguarding (i) the education and training of young players, (ii) training clubs, and (iii) the values of effort and motivation in football, particularly for young players, is a fundamental element of protecting national teams and restoring sporting and financial balance to club football,
- The universal development of football over the last century would not continue if there were
increasing inequalities between continents, countries and protagonists in football,

Definition of 6+5
- At the beginning of each match, each club must field at least 6 who are players eligible to play for the national team of the country of the club.
- However, there is:
- no restriction on the number of non-eligible players under contract with the club,
- nor on substitutes to avoid non-sportive constraints on the coaches (potentially 3+8 at the end of a match).

Calendar of 6+5
The objective is to have an incremental implementation starting at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season to give clubs time to adjust their teams over a period of several years:
- 4+7 for 2010-2011
- 5+6 for 2011-2012
- and 6+5 for 2012-2013