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The Mail Bag

The 6-5 Rule and Everton FC

Comments (33)

People seem to be ignoring the potential impact of the 6-5 rule on purchases made by the Toffees this summer. Considering the lack of money we have as a club, spending a lot of money on players that in a year?s time we may not be able to use seems a bit of a bad idea to me.

If you look at the current squad we have five foreigners who are pretty much guaranteed a place in the starting eleven: Howard, Yobo, Pienaar, Arteta, and Yakubu. So any foreigners we bring in will have to replace one of these five in the team, or we need to find an Englishman that can replace one of our existing foreigners.

I believe that where possible we need to be looking at the best possible English players and signing them up to long contracts now before the big spenders start looking around. My targets this summer would have to be Michael Johnson, David Bentley and James Milner, three of the best young English midfielders around at the moment. If we had nicked fourth place from Liverpool then I would have quite happily given Villa £8M + AJ to get Gareth Barry but he wants the Champions League so he will go over to the dark side.

At the moment the only one of the big four with anything approaching a decent English contingent is Man Utd, the rest will need to buy in a lot of talent very quickly and that will lead to only one thing. Prices will go through the roof. At the minute, James Milner is valued at £7M, according to Keegan, as soon as the 6-5 rule comes in I would expect that to jump to at least £10M. In circumstances like that, a club like Everton will not be able to compete.

Now is the time that we have to gamble, if the rule doesn?t come in we may have lost out on some of our first choice players, but if it does, Everton FC will have one of the strongest sides in the Premier League.
Steve Pugh, Norfolk     Posted 08/06/2008 at 16:22:51

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Simple Simon
1   Posted 08/06/2008 at 16:48:06

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Actually, the rule cannot be enforced because it would be illegal and would break current E.U. law. So it would be pointless and counter-productive to take the move you suggest.
Mike Robinson
2   Posted 08/06/2008 at 18:28:46

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Any rule wouldn’t be enforced until 2012. But it won’t happen anyway because it’s completely illegal.
Simon James
3   Posted 08/06/2008 at 18:28:29

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6-5 will not happen, I don't think ! On a more serious note, though, how come Tiny Tim isn?t guaranteed a place in your starting 11? He?d be the first name on mine, Steve.
Steve Pugh
4   Posted 08/06/2008 at 18:33:40

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Guys, according to anti slavery laws it is illegal to prevent a human from choosing who he works for therefore the whole football contract and transfer market thing is illegal. So why should they worry about this law.
Mike Byrne
5   Posted 08/06/2008 at 18:38:30

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Not so sure it woudl be illegal to have restrictions on non_EU nationals - it prob would be for EU nationals bit non-EU?
4 of the 5 mentioned above are non-EU plus tiny Tim woudl make the 5.
Manny anyone?
Steve Pugh
6   Posted 08/06/2008 at 18:39:28

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Simon, it was a tough decision to leave Tim out of my five foreigners but I felt he was the easiest to cover out of the five. It was really a toss up between him and peanut, with the covering player being Ossie
Rich Evans
7   Posted 08/06/2008 at 19:09:47

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Hello all, first time poster to this site. It won’t be EU law that stops this rule coming in, it will be the Sky 4. EU laws mean foreign players couldn’t be stopped from being employed by a club, as that would be discrimination. But can the law dictate whether those employee’s can be included in the team each week?
Tom Campbell
8   Posted 08/06/2008 at 19:59:17

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Does Tim Cahill not count as a homegrown player because he has played his whole career in England?
Mike Byrne
9   Posted 08/06/2008 at 20:09:55

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Steve Pugh - what a load of shite re anti-slavery laws - I want to work for IBM but they won?t have me - can I sue them?

Rich - EU laws pevent restrictions on EU nationals only.
Simon Skinner
10   Posted 08/06/2008 at 20:24:49

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If it is illegal to stop EU players coming in, it is equally illegal to stop players from countries which have certain trade agreements with the EU - this is the Kolpak ruling as seen in cricket. Nigeria and South Africa have those agreements, so essentially we are sound.

Rich Evens asks "But can the law dictate whether those employee?s can be included in the team each week? "

The law can stop restrictions on the makeup of teams, which is exactly the Kolpak case. It’s not just illegal to stop EU citizens being employed, it’s also illegal to make it more difficult than it would be for a local citizen.
Mark Pierpoint
11   Posted 08/06/2008 at 20:38:43

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Mike Byrne, it is true that the law would not cover non-EU nationals, but surely most of ours would be fine due to citizenship laws. Yobo has been here for 5+ years, obviously Cahill as well. By the time legislation could be brought in. Howard would be the same, in the UK for longer than 5 years... my knowledge of how the citizenship laws work is sketchy, but as far as I know isn't it correct that you simply have to be resident here for 5 years?
Rich Evans
12   Posted 08/06/2008 at 20:45:31

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Simon - So if FIFA implemented this law they are in effect making more difficult for them, as clubs would be less inclined to sign them? To be honest I’d never considered that side of it, I just thought Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea would kick up a stink and block it!

From another angle - if (an I appreciate its a big if) this law were introduced would it benefit to EFC?
Steve Pugh
13   Posted 08/06/2008 at 21:53:43

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Mike Byrne,

No you couldn’t sue them, but if they offered you a job and your current employer said you couldn’t take it then you could sue him. I didn’t realise that you needed things spelled out for you in crayons.
Steve Pugh
14   Posted 08/06/2008 at 22:14:08

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2 points.

1. Regarding the legality of the 6-5 rule.

Contrary to what may have been said, the ’6+5’ rule does not contravene the European Labour Law on the freedom of movement. Clubs will still be free to take on as many foreign players as they want. When a match kicks off however, they will have to have six players on the pitch who are eligible for the national team of the country in question. Furthermore, the ’6+5’ rule supports another European Law, namely regarding having the broadest and fairest possible competition and restricting the concentration of finances and economic monopolies. This is the direction that football is going in. In the five main European championships at the moment, four-fifths of the teams are battling to avoid relegation to a lower division. This is not a sign that football is in good health. It is the proof that a minority of clubs control everything - money, players and means.

2. Regarding naturalisation

The 6 home based players must be eligible to play for the national team of the country their club is from.

Steve Pendleton
15   Posted 09/06/2008 at 00:39:45

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Leaving out Cahill as one of the foreigners in starting eleven. Have you been watching his input over the last few seasons Steve Pugh??

He didn’t look easy to cover while he was injured over this season mate.
Mike Byrne
16   Posted 09/06/2008 at 07:05:22

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Steve Pugh - another stupid response going away from the subject - you originally said ’according to anti slavery laws it is illegal to prevent a human from choosing who he works for’ - my response was that it is down to employees who decide whether or not to employ you and then you turn it the issue of your current emplyer preventing you from taking a new job!!
WTF has that got to do with this post?
Keep to the subject and you might get your crayons back.
BTW - look up sarcasm in the dictionary (it comes under S and sure Mummy will help you with the big heavy book) - you might be then able to detect it in some posts
Simon Skinner
17   Posted 09/06/2008 at 10:31:35

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Steve Pugh - I have to disagree on your view on the 6+5 rule. It WOULD contravene EU laws.

It’s almost exactly the same as the Kolpak case. In that case, German handball teams could sign as many non-EU players as they wanted, but could only play one (I think) in each game. Kolpak, a player from a country which had trade agreements with the EU that their citizens should be considered equal to EU citizens (he was Slovak or something), claimed that clubs were less likely to sign him because of this limitation, and hence it is illegal. He won.

It is also my opinion that 6+5 would be bad for competition within English league - any time you restrict resources, you are increasing the weight towards those with financial resources, not levelling the playing field.

It would, however, be good for competition BETWEEN leagues and between international teams, which is UEFA and FIFA’s real agenda. They have little desire for one or two countries to dominate European competition, or for players to leave their home country at a young age and play for adopted countries.
John Duncan
18   Posted 09/06/2008 at 11:01:12

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Sports are different to the real world jobs and therefore the 6+5 rule could be passed. Otherwise why are women not allowed to play in professional football, or play against men in any sport? Surely this breaks every sex discrimination law re: employment. There are a few girls i know that could get in the RS team. In fact, i think they?ve got one playing up front at the moment so maybe im talkin rubbish!
Rob Heaton
19   Posted 09/06/2008 at 11:10:44

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In many countries women are allowed to paly men, teams just don’t pick them. Admittadly this insn’t true in England.

Wasn’t in spain a few years ago one team wanted to play a woman and the Spanish FA said there was no rulinig against it? It turned out to be a publicity stunt and she was crap so didn’t play.

Plus women can play against men in other sports. Golf allows Michelle Wee to play in the opens.
Simple Simon
20   Posted 09/06/2008 at 12:03:14

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Steve Pugh: The 6+5 rule does actually contravene EU law. You claim that since clubs are free to employ as many foreign EU citizens as they want, then it is possible to do that whilst omitting a number of them from the first team in order that six UK nationals are played.

But imagine that Everton decide to flout the directive and play eleven foreign EU citizens. If the footballing authorities prosecuted us, it would be pretty easy for the club to take a case to the courts where it would be demonstrated that the club had acted legally, that the request to remove specific players from doing certain jobs was, in fact, illegal

Simon Skinner
21   Posted 09/06/2008 at 11:59:38

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The fundamental freedoms aren?t unconditional - it?s not as simple of you can NEVER discriminate. For example, you are not allowed to discriminate on grounds of disability - however, if a blind man applies for a job as a pilot, he isn?t going to get it, purely and 100% because of his disability. Clearly, other issues (in this case safety) override.

Where a law breaches a freedom because of such an issue, they have to be reasonable and proportional - basically the idea is you bring in the simplest law that fixes the problem.

Finally, a law can always be introduced even if it is illegal. It wouldn?t be overturned under somebody appealed against it. In these cases, you?d have to take it to the EU courts, which takes several years. Many illegal laws never get overturned because nobody can be bothered to spend years, and huge amounts of money, on trivial points. Therefore the existence of a law is not proof that it is legal.

I don?t know exactly why women can?t play in mens matches in the UK. My feeling is that it?s probably on grounds of safety, but any such law (or rule) is PROBABLY illegal. But it would never be overturned until somebody spent years getting it overturned.
Andy Callan
22   Posted 09/06/2008 at 13:21:38

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No need to panic - this rule isn’t supposed to be implemented until 2012.

It will never happen as it is in effect a restriction of trade.

Never happen; simple as that.
Ciarán McGlone
23   Posted 09/06/2008 at 14:17:59

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Domestic courts are obliged to give effect to the EU directives and regulations...and a challenge to these DOES NOT have be taken to the ECJ.....a challenge can be taken up in the domestic courts to law that is contrary to EU law...and the courts here have the ability to remedy these..which includes the quashing of primary legislation.

So, in short, suggesting that a challenge has to go to Europe is wrong. It is merely a matter of last resort, and usually doesn’t go that far.

Domestic courts can of course refer questions to Europe, but this is again..ancillary to the actual court process.
Simon Skinner
24   Posted 09/06/2008 at 15:20:29

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You are right of course that in the first instance it would go to a UK court. However, if UEFA lost they could appeal to higher court, with the highest court in such matters being the ECJ itself. This is why such matter take such time and costs - they go through several levels of court. It takes a determined individual (like Bosman or Kolpak) to go through it all.

This is all a technicality though - even if it took years, UEFA would lose. If they did try to fight it over several years the compensation when they did lose would be huge.
Mark Cook
25   Posted 09/06/2008 at 15:25:10

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Regarding the Kolpak ruling and cricket, I think currently each time a Kolpak player is used in a County match, the county is effectively fined an amount of money depending on the type of game, i.e. a championship, FP Trophy, Pro40 or 20-20. Therefore, the teams can use these players, but there are penalties. There are restrictions on the number of overseas players available, i.e. 1 per game, and this can be enforced in Cricket.

Before everyone points out, I know Cricket is different to football in terms of its participation and the number of countries that play at the top level. Now, I’m not an expert on law, so I don’t know the full ins and outs, but surely the scenario could be that a club is free to employ as many European, Kolpak, Overseas players as it wishes, and they pay their wages every week. There is no argument there. However, football is a competition, with a governing body and more importantly, competition rules. If a competition rule states you may only play so many overseas...or you must play so many home grown players in a team, then surely that is a rule of the competition. If a player plays in the 3rd round of the FA Cup for a team, then gets transferred in the transfer window to another, he is cup tied...a competition rule prevents him from partaking in further games, even though that could be classed as breaking trade laws. The Transfer window could also be seen as breaking trade laws.....surely that is a restriction of trade...

I’m just trying to be a devils advocate here, I’m sure EU law will apply when it suits, but my main point is, why does law interfere in some areas of competition and not in others.
Ciarán McGlone
26   Posted 09/06/2008 at 15:46:40

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Not wishing to get into a debate about judicial heirachy...but in order to appeal to a higher court, the appellant needs leave from the domestic..court..

Now if a domestic court has referred a matter to Europe and received the answer that this is indeed contrary to EU law...then there is no way in this world that a domestic court would permit that leave to appeal to the ECJ!
Simon Skinner
27   Posted 09/06/2008 at 18:18:09

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The basic idea is that you are allowed to restrict trade occasionally, but there has to be a just cause and the restriction has to be proportional.

For example, say you are a city bigshot, and you quit your job. It is reasonable for your former employer to not let you leave for 6 months or so, so you don’t take trade secrets/business contacts etc with you. That’s reasonable. It is not reaonable for them to hold onto you for 3 years - thats too long for a business case to apply.

Bringing it back to football, it’s considered reasonable to only allow you to play for one team in a cup competition - it’s only a minor temporary restraint and it keeps the competition fair. That’s the idea anyway - don’t think it’s been tested in court.

In the cricket, technically the counties are not being penalised for picking Kolpaks, but players eligible for England. As the ECB runs the England cricket team, and amounts are sensible and the end result is to improve the standard of cricketers produced this is considered reasonable.

Ciarán - my original point was related to the cost involved in going through several layers of courts to get to a decision. You are right that cases rarely don’t often reach, but that’s often because of the huge legal costs involved. I work in international taxation, where many illegal laws stood for many years in the UK, and were only overturned when multinationals suffered - they were the only ones who had the financial muscle to fight all the way to the ECJ. And you can appeal to the ECJ on a point of EU law - the UK courts don’t always refer when really they should do.

But that’s so far off the point that I should stop bickering.
Steve Pugh
28   Posted 09/06/2008 at 19:06:17

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Obviously no body looked at my source, it wasn’t my quote re European law it was FIFA’s, and as they have had a rule regarding the number of foreign players in the CL and UEFA cup for as many years as I can remember I don’t think you can say that their claim is bull shit.

As for you Mr Byrne you really are thick. My point is that, under the anti slavery laws your employer cannot stop you from taking employment with another employer if you so choose. Therefore the transfermarket is illegal because Aston Villa can stop Gareth Barry from playing for Liverpool unless Liverpool pay them money. Is this clear enough for you.

BTW - sarcasm doesn’t normally start with saying "what a load of shite" maybe you should learn how to use these technical forms of English before you start trying to impress your mates.
Simon Skinner
29   Posted 09/06/2008 at 19:32:06

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To address your points in turn:

There used to be a rule only allowing three foreingers per team. This was found to be illegal under EU law as part of the Bosman ruling.

Re: the transfer fee system - I don’t believe that the system has been challenged in court (I could be wrong). However, I believe the justification is that smaller teams need transfer fees to survive, and without the smaller teams far fewer young players would be developed (and therefore the standard would fall). Therefore, transfer fees are a barrier but a justifiable one, and hence not illegal.

Whether that would stand up in court is another matter.

Mike Byrne
30   Posted 09/06/2008 at 21:43:56

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Steve Pugh

If that really was your point instead of a face-saving riposte then why didn’t you mention it in your original post.
And just what are these anti-slavery laws you refer to because as far as I am aware there have been none passed since slavery was abolished in Wilbeforce’s day.
As for comparing modern day footballers to slaves then I hope someone will enslave me.
Just for the record, whilst an employer cannot stop anyone leaving to take up employment elsewhere the original employer can, if there was a fixed contract and the employee left before it was up, take the the employee to court for breach of contract nd damages.
This is in general law - football associations also have their regulations which stipulate that a footballer can’t be contracted to two clubs at the same time.
In the same way my t&cs with my employer forbid me to have a second job - am I a slave according to you?
Please tell me what statute you refer to when quoting these anti-slavery laws - I would love to know them.
You really should get your Mum to get that dictionary down for you (but don’t crayon on it theres a good little boy)
Now go away and eat the rest of your carrots
Steve Pugh
31   Posted 09/06/2008 at 23:10:24

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The contract with your lawyer can only forbid you taking a second job if it is in any way detrimental to their business.

No you are not a slave because you can leave your current employer and he cannot stop you. Therefore you are a free man, all be it not very bright.

I didn’t mention it in the original post because it a reposte to a point made that the 6+5 law was illegal. The point being that football does not care about laws I used the anti slavery thing to say the whole transfer thing could be challenged in a court of law and footballers could if they wanted leave their clubs and move to another without any fee being paid.
Mike Byrne
32   Posted 10/06/2008 at 07:00:23

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Steve Pugh - read my post - I do not have a contract with my lawyer.

I have one with my employer which states that I cannot take a second job without their permission - quite reasonable in my opinion as no-one can deliver their best in two full time jobs..

Anything but anything can be challenged in a court of law - fact is the accepted rules and regs of various FAs, EUFA, FIFA etc forbid a player being contracted to two clubs at the same time.

Again quite reasonable in my opinion - you are right in saying that a player could walk away from an unexpired contract but then he would be in breach of contract- again quite reasonable in my opinion.

Can you please explain just what specific ’anti-slavery’ laws this is breaking?

Is that simple enough for you to understand? I have tried to come down to your level but it is hard getting so low
Ciarán McGlone
33   Posted 10/06/2008 at 11:39:22

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Contracts can determine whatever they want....It is a matter of what you are willing to sign, not what your employer tries to get you to sign..

The transfer window should’ve been challenged in court a long time ago...and I have no doubt that it is illegal.

And this has absolutely nothing to do with anti-slavery laws.

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