Italy's xenophobia (1 Viewer)


Junior Member
Jul 14, 2002
hey i found an intresting article on bout italy banning non-eu players indefinitly, i'm not sure if theres a thread already on this, but its quite intresting.

So Italy is flirting again with football xenophobia and the banning of foreigners. It should be made to refer to lessons of history: those who do not learn from it are condemned to repeat it.

According to a new edict drawn up by the Italian Football Federation, the FIGC, all Serie A and B clubs will be allowed to register only one non-EU player during the current transfer window and then, until further notice, there will be a complete ban on non-EU signings altogether.

It's a radical diversion from the existing order, which allows the signings of an unlimited number from outside the EU. Players from inside the EU are, of course, unaffected.

Italy's membership of the EU decrees that there is free movement of labour between all member nations so the Italians are stuck with allowing the entry of EU foreigners, however undesirable.

The last time Italy did this, it heralded in the dreariest era of its football, made forgettable for the dour, defensive age of catenaccio, percentage tactics and a dearth of entertaining players.

Italy was maligned, as a result, as the cradle of football boredom for near on 20 years after it and still carries, unjustly, the stigma.

What had triggered the first bout of this fear of foreigners was the 1962 World Cup, played in an age dominated by the foreign presence in Europe's top leagues, particularly Italy and Spain, and when anyone could still play for any country, provided he was a citizen.

It was then that the Argentine Sivori and the Brazilian Altafini represented Italy while Di Stefano, an Argentine, and Puskas and Kubala, both Hungarian, turned out for Spain.

What didn't help was that both Italy and Spain flopped at the World Cup and the lack of home-bred talent was blamed for it. Then FIFA introduced the rule that once you have played for one country you could not play for another.

The Italians figured – and Spain followed suit – that the only way forward was to ban the foreigners, which in turn would leave a glut of vacancies on the club team-sheets to be filled by home-bred players.

And that, again, would lead to an increase in the development of quality locally made footballers and, of course, better national teams.

Only, it didn't happen.

The home-bred players that would match the star qualities of Sivori, Di Stefano and Puskas, never emerged.

Because the clubs could no longer import stars with which they could win games and championships, the value of individual talent diminished and tactics of the most expedient kind, rather than player quality, became the tools of success.

Catenaccio, the dogma of defensive, counter-attacking football, became king. Rather than the players, it was the tacticians, like Inter Milan's Helenio Herrera, who became the stars.

This was the era when coaches, the bench-warming control freaks, really began to become important.

But of course the fans, being fans, couldn't give a rats about pot-bellied coaches and continued to yearn for star quality and, denied the window to real talent from Brazil or Argentina or eastern Europe, were forced to get off on domestic 'celebrities'.
For years a player called Sormanni, a Brazilian striker of no great shakes but one trapped in Italy since before the foreign ban held the world record transfer fee.

He transferred between two Italian clubs for what was then an astronomical fee. The fans couldn't have Pele (because he was still in Brazil) so they made a star of Sormanni instead. He was, after all, Brazilian.

By the late 1970s the marketing whiz kids of the Italian clubs began to see the light and put massive pressure on the FIGC to relax the ban.

Some fabulous players were running around in Brazil, Argentina, Holland, England and Yugoslavia and they wanted them in order to sell their season tickets and at higher prices.

The FIGC relented and began to open the doors. At first with a quota of one foreigner per club, then two, then three, then four and so on.

Players were let in like Liam Brady, Ruud Krol, Zbigniew Boniek, Michel Platini, Zico and, eventually, Diego Maradona.

Before long the Serie A became a haven for the world's finest talent. Its football turned from being stifled, calculating and boring to one of adventure and bravado. By the late 1980s the Serie A had become the most admired and feared in Europe.

Once the Bosman ruling's effects kicked in, the sky was the limit. Just about any number could be imported, at first only from the EU and then, in order not to discriminate, from anywhere.

Which, of course, was the other, ridiculous extreme and the authorities who claim that there is just too much foreign presence, not just in Italy but elsewhere, are right.

The sight of a Chelsea team sheet without one Englishman on it is comical if not tragic.

But a total ban is not the answer, as history has shown.

Roma president Franco Sensi has become the first of the new rule's critics. He says: 'Stopping the arrival of Brazilians, Argentinians and Africans will limit the entertainment value of our football. This is not the way to boost our youth football.'

He is right. Italy might produce its odd Totti or, if it's really lucky, a Baggio. But, by and large, without access to the Maradonas, Zicos, Ronaldos, Crespos, Weahs, Batistutas, Recobas and Cafus, the Serie A will again become instant dullsville, a cottage industry of Di Livios, Materazzis and 'hard working' Zambrottas.

And who then will inspire the kids of Milan, Rome and Naples to model their game on?

In the early 1960s, when the first silly anti-foreigner ban was introduced, Italy had a gloriously talented player called Gianni Rivera, a creative master of rare quality and a true idol of budding players.

In the ensuing 20 years the country had no one like him, not Gigi Riva, not Franco Causio, not even Paolo Rossi.

They did win the World Cup in 1982 but the foreign ban had nothing to do with it. Their domestic football had been drab and it took the strategic genius of Azzurri coach Enzo Bearzot to do it.

The new Rivera didn't arrive until the entry of a teenage Roberto Baggio, ten years after the foreign ban had been lifted.

The other argument used by the FIGC for re-introducing the ban has to do with money, and the theory that foreign stars cost too much, thereby crippling clubs' finances.

It's a non-argument, which Franco Sensi also dismisses: 'You will now see how the price of EU and Italian players will rise.'

Italian clubs are feverishly competitive. If they can't compete for Brazilian or Argentinian stars, they will simply compete for the dull, home-bred lot that has replaced them.

The complete and limitless open door policy on foreign players is indeed a bad one for it surely does stifle the opportunities for home-grown talent and kills the virtues of a youth development policy which all clubs should have.

But closing the door to all stranieri, as the Italians call them, is sillier still.

The happy formula is the quota system of three, four or even five imported players per club, which finds the right medium.

The formula that presided over the Serie A's finest era between the mid-1980s and the late 1990s.

what do u think about the banning of non-eu players and the idea afformentioned above?

Buy on


Junior Member
Jul 14, 2002
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread Starter #3
    haha u think i wrote this... copy and paste :D

    i just didn't wanna leave anything out if someone actually read it and thought there was something missing.....


    Senior Member
    Jul 17, 2002
    I think it's a good idea.
    I'd put forward a system where each club was allowed 5-6 foreign players in the entire squad and 3-4 players in the match squad. That is every foreign player counts as a foreigner, not some half-assed rule that allows a club to field as many europeans as they want.


    Junior Member
    Jul 14, 2002
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread Starter #7
    so a bit like rule in la liga then?

    hopefully it'll have the same effect.


    Senior Member
    Jul 23, 2002
    I think this is disrcrimnation

    it will mean that a good Italian
    or a could Spansih player

    will earn more in his domestic league

    Then an outstanding let say Yugoslavian player.........

    The best players for the highest wages and the best clubs....
    Jul 12, 2002
    ++ [ originally posted by GonJ ] ++
    wot d'ya mean?

    no ones asw'ed my question yet :D
    Okay, I think that it is plain and simple discrimination and that the only way to save Italian football is not banning non-eu players, but banning all non-italian players from Serie B.

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