Ministers tackle FIFA ‘6+5’ rule
By Eric van Puyvelde | Monday 01 December 2008
Dialogue with sports organisations and the composition of football teams were two of the main themes of the informal meeting of EU sports ministers, held in Biarritz on 27 and 28 November. Although sport is not an EU competency, a joint declaration was adopted
(1), which was warmly welcomed by French Minister Bernard Laporte, who chaired the meeting. He noted that sport will be an EU competency when the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, which he “sincerely hopes for sport”.
Laporte noted that dialogue with the sports movement has been strengthened by the meeting. The ministers called for the creation - in 2009 - of a consultative framework with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and representatives of the sports movement.
The session also tackled the delicate issue of the composition of football teams - the ‘6 + 5’ rule
(2), in the presence of Michel Platini, president of UEFA (Union of European Football Associations). The ministers called upon the European Commission to “continue the compatibility study of a minimum proportion of players who could be selected for the national team under EU law,” explained Laporte. But, in a declaration, Commissioners Jan Figel’ (sport) and Vladimir Spidla (social) confirmed that the ‘6+5’ rule constitutes discrimination on the basis of nationality and is therefore contrary to Community rules (see
On the issue of control over the management of clubs, several stakeholders (French football league, UEFA) presented their plans and projects for improvement. Laporte proposed reviewing the existing licence system following the results of the Commission’s conference, to be held in 2009, on the subject.
In the wake of the white paper on sport, presented in July 2007 by the Commission (3448), ministers welcomed the results of studies carried out under the auspices of the Commission concerning the training of young players and the principle of dual training, education and sports, as well as the role of sport in terms of health.
Lastly, ministers reiterated their concerns vis-à-vis doping. Two topics in particular were tackled, explained the French minister: the individual data protection system for athletes, considered to be insufficient with regard to EU legislation; and Europe’s role within WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), also insufficient with regard to its financial commitment and its exceptional support, and recognised as such, in the field of the fight against doping. An initiative by the French EU Presidency has been announced in this area.(1) The ministers’ declaration is available at
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(2) The ‘6+5’ rule of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) provides that six of the 11 football players on the pitch must be of the same nationality as the country of their club.