Friday, June 8, 2012

8 June 2006 - FIFA Crosses A Number Line

On 8 June 2006, FIFA proposed an eighteen-team limit for the top European leagues, who soundly rejected it.

Intended both to help reduce fixture congestion and to create additional open dates for international competition, FIFA endorsed the idea at their 56th Congress in Munich. Perhaps not coincidentally, the German Bundesliga was the only major European league already restricted to eighteen teams, while the top flights in England, France, Italy, and Spain each had twenty teams.

Although FIFA President Sepp Blatter was confident that those leagues would adopt the change in advance of the 2007-08 season, their reaction was one of strong opposition, with English Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson telling the press "The only people who are going to tell us how to run the Premier League are the league's 20 member clubs' chairmen."

Ultimately, those leagues chose not to implement the new proposal and they all continue to have twenty teams (while the Bundesliga maintains its level at eighteen).

Blatter apparently took offense at the Premier League's vocal opposition, singling England out for criticism later that month for their style of play.