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UEFA goes protectionist

Teams in England's Premier League are full of imported players. The result is high-quality football, far superior to what I witnessed when living there in the 70s, when the teams were overwhelmingly of local origin. Chalk one up for the free movement of labor, and the benefits that flow from the European Union.

But UEFA wants to fiddle with that.

From the start of the 2007 season, it is proposed that any club qualifying for a European competition must have no more than 25 players in their first-team squad. Four of those players, however, must be home-grown, two of them having been trained between the ages of 15 and 21 by the club's own youth training programme, while two others could be developed by other clubs, provided these clubs are part of the same national association as the buying club.

The Premier League, which sells the most valuable package in the global television market, is understandably not enthused by the proposal. The vote among EPL clubs was 16-4 against supporting UEFA, so they will fight the proposal. Good luck to them.