Somewhere in the Persian gulf near the Qatari coast on Roman Abramovic's super-yacht, June 2010
Jack Warner did another line, his nose covered in white powder and eyes as big as lanterns. His hands shook uncontrollably as he spoke. "It doesn't getter any better than this, does it Sepp?!" He exlaimed. The naked Russian waitress poured them each more cognac, as he slapped her rear end as she was leaving. Blatter didn't reply.
"I can't ******* believe it!" He exlaimed again. "The World Cup in Russia? And then Qatar? The world's going to go nuts!" He was so excited he couldn't contain himself. "And there's nothing they can do about it!" He shouted at the top of his lungs. "I mean, England had the best bid, and they're only going to get 1 vote! It's going to be hilarious, I can't wait to hear their reaction!"
"I mean, the low countries would have been great, Holland's the best country to never have won a World Cup and they totally deserve it...and Amsterdam? It'd be the best city in the world to host a world cup, it would've been a great party!"
"Spain and Portugal...two rising powers, one of them's the best in the world now, and they're the best tourist destinations in Europe...not to mention they know how to have a great time better than any European country. Would have been amazing!"
"But they're going to be in Moscow because we get to retire millionaires and we can get any Russian woman we want for the rest of our lives!"
"But Qatar?! It's ******* hilarious! Australia, a great place for tourists, fun people, a great nation to spread the game to; are we going to have it there? Nope. The USA? It's the world's most popular tourist destination, there are great venues, plenty of room, the sport is finally getting popular there, and their last world cup was the most commercially successful in history...are we going to have it there? Nope! It's going to be in Qatar! There will be more fans there than the local population! They won't be able to be outside because it'll be 40 degrees, everything will be ridiculously overpriced, there won't be enough alcohol, there won't be anything to do other than go to that mall with everyone else, and there won't be an available woman within miles!"
"I LOVE POWER!" He shouted at the top of his lungs, snorting two more lines.
Sepp finally spoke. "Do you ever get the feeling that we haven't done enough for the game?"
Jack laughed, but stopped when he saw Sepp's face. "You can't be serious." He was in disbelief. "What the **** is the matter with you?"
"We've been around for so long and the sport is only getting worse. Look at how different it is from what it used to be. Outrageous transfer fees and wages, greedy players and clubs, the total lack of loyalty...the whole thing is so ******* commercialized. It used to be a sport, but now it's just a business."
"But that's how it's got to be," Jack replied. "There's nothing we can do about it...there's so much money involved. People all over the world watch it on TV, they buy the merchandise, they'll spend ridiculous amounts of money on tickets...the amount of money to be made from sponsorship and advertising is incredible. What's happened is inevitable."
"How is it fair that England, Spain, Italy, and Germany just get to have the best leagues because they commercialized them successfully? Because they happen to be larger nations that can support more profitable clubs?" Jack didn't respond.
"Look at Holland...Ajax used to be the best club in Europe. The Dutch play a great brand of football, and their league used to be as good as any in the world. Several of their teams had great European success. And now look at them...their league is simply a feeder league for the 'Big 4.' They don't get to keep any of their players. Fans that used to get to watch Cruyff and the other national greats their country produced now only get to watch good Dutch players for a year or two before they're sold off to another country. None of the Dutch teams can compete with anyone else in Europe because their players will just leave."
"But that's their problem," Jack replied. "It's a smaller country, it can't support as profitable of a league as the English can, who have commercialized theirs so well, so the players will go for the money. It's their right to do what they want."
"Why are the 'rights' of the players so ******* important?" Sepp responded. "They make millions to kick a ball around for Christ's sake, and we're talking about their rights? I don't give a rat's *** if a player only gets to make 4 million playing for Ajax instead of 8 million to play for Chelsea...they make too much as it is. The fans are the ones that pay for this whole mess, and the players owe it to them and to their clubs, communities, and countries for making them the players that they are."
"And if you think that's bad, what about South America? They're the best at the game. The Argentine and Brazilian leagues used to be much better than the European ones. Even Uruguayan teams could beat the European powerhouses as late as the early 90's. They have the best players, but of course they all go to Europe because South American clubs can't compete with the ridiculous wages offered over there. Only two decades ago, footballers received reasonable salaries, so it wasn't a sacrifice to stay in Latin America with your team and people. How is it fair to the Latin American fans that even though they're the best footballing nations, their leagues have to be *****? It's blatant imperialism and you know it."
"Well there's nothing we can do about it," Jack replied. "That's just the way it is."
"We're making a zero foreigner rule," Sepp said. "I'm calling Platini about it tomorrow. He'll love the idea, it'd be great for Ligue 1."
Jack laughed. "You don't seriously think you could get anyone to listen, do you?"
"They will," Sepp replied. "If they don't go along with it, I'm taking this whole thing down. I've got everything recorded...tapes, video, banking statements, everything."
Jack's jaw dropped. "You can't be serious...there's no way you'd do that."
"Yes I would...you think I like this? The Russian hookers? The cocaine? The money? The flats in Qatar? I don't even like Qatar for Christ's sake. I'm too old for *** and I'm too old for coke. And I really don't need any more money. All I have left is my name and my legacy, which has already been tarnished. I need to leave the game better than I left it. I want people to remember me as someone who left his mark."
He paused. "And the English...I hate the ******* English!" He shouted. "I'll ruin Premier League! It's nothing but a bunch of foreigners, wait until it's only English players...it'll just be a glorified SPL. I can't wait to see their faces--the tears streaming down their white, pasty skin from their beady eyes, their long snouts and rodent-like features contorted into cries of despair, showing their yellow and brown crooked teeth...it'll be the greatest moment of my life!" He screamed.
Jack got up and left. He couldn't listen to any more of this nonsense, and forgot about it by enjoying one of the Russian beauties. He really didn't care anyway, being in charge of CONCACAF he wouldn't have to deal with that mess.
At the end of June of 2010, UEFA, CONCACAF, and CONMEBOL revealed to the world the new rules. The leagues of England, Scotland, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Holland, Turkey, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Venezuela all declared zero foreigner rules: no foreigners were allowed in the match squads of any of their domestic competitions, although foreigners were to be allowed in the league games of lower divisions (the exceptions were Spain, Italy, Germany, Brazil, and Argentina, for whom the no foreigner rule extended to the second divisions as well). In all of these countries, on January 12, 2011, every contract of a foreign player with more than 180 days left to gain citizenship of the country in which they played would be considered null and void. The clubs wouldn't have to pay any fees. This gave the clubs two transfer windows to sell their players, and the latter half of the January window to sign new ones.
The significant exceptions in South America were Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, and Peru, none of whom could be coerced by CONMEBOL, which didn't bother the Brazilians and Argentines too much (they were thrilled the rules were passing and didn't want to cause trouble or delays). In Europe, there were a few exceptions as well. Switzerland, of course, was not forced into the agreement, partially because of Blatter and partially because of their neutrality and independence in all international affairs. The Belgians were also not coerced, probably because of the fact that they're the center of the EU. Neither was Romania or any of the Slavic nations, such as Croatia, Serbia, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
All of the leagues without the zero foreigner rule, of course, were expected to make huge gains in the future, and the South American leagues were expected to make huge strides. But this would take a little while: many of the best players in the world from Latin America, Africa, and Asia had gained citizenship while playing in their respective countries, as did many Europeans playing in places such as England, Spain, etc. Argentina was in a particularly bad situation: almost every player on their national team, as well as countless others, had a Spanish or Italian passport: some from playing in other countries, but many from simply having a grandparent that was one of the many immigrants to Argentina during that time period. Provisions were taken to prevent these types from being able to play in Europe in the future, but anyone already with a passport could play in that country. For the time being, the 'Big 4' would continue to be dominant because of the amount of naturalized foreigners already in the league.
The public's reaction of initial shock gave way to heated debate. It was much less unpopular than many expected. The South American nations, of course, were thrilled, because it meant they could keep their players again (although they prayed that the Belgian and Swiss leagues did not improve enough and become wealthy enough to poach their best players). None of the leagues that got the zero foreigner rule had many foreigners, and the nations that didn't have the rule could continue to use Argentine players (although Colombia had a strict 3 foreigner rule to begin with). The Mexicans were very annoyed they could no longer buy Argentine and Brazilian players with the vast sums of money in that league, but they did get to see many of their players abroad return home. And in Europe, almost all of the leagues outside of the Big 4 had something to gain.
Ligue 1 had surprisingly few foreigners other than African players that had an easy time gaining French citizenship. Few players would have to leave, and almost all of the French national team playing abroad would have to come home: Nasri, Sagna, Malouda, Benzema, Squilacci, Lass Diarra, Koscielny, Ribery, Djibril Cisse, among many others, had contracts that would expire, meaning they almost certainly would all head to France. Most importantly, the knew they would get to keep the talent they developed. On top of that, their traditional rivals: England, Germany, and Italy, would all have to suffer greatly due to the new rules. Needless to say, the French were ecstatic, and Platini's push was one of the reasons the rules were passed.
The Dutch were very pleased that almost their entire national team would return. Kuyt and Van Persie were the only important players in their national team pool that had obtained citizenship in a foreign country. They would be able to finally keep their world-renowned youth products. There was an abundance of foreigners in the league already, however, especially from Scandinavia, and the league would be noticeably worse in the first half season. There were also fears of a lack of depth: Holland is a small country that can produce great players, but not many, and there were fears that the smaller teams would be very poor in quality.
The Portuguese were very ambivalent. Although many of their players abroad would return to Portugal, they would not be able to get Cristiano Ronaldo, who was to receive Spanish citizenship in January of 2011, as well as Asuncao, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho (only needed to reside in Britain and fill out the paperwork, though it was unknown whether or not he desired to return to Portugal), Manuel Fernandes, Duda, and Eliseu, among others. The other problem was that the Portuguese league is heavily dependent upon foreigners, who almost exclusively come from Brazil or Africa. Without these players, the league would be seriously lacking depth. Portugal, like Holland, can produce a few greats, but it is a small country that cannot produce large numbers of top-flight footballers.
Scotland was fairly annoyed because unlike the other countries, it could not retain its best players. They would always go to England. Yet like the English, it could not use any foreigners outside of the British isles. It seemed to be an unfair arrangement, but they were very pleased with the misfortunes of the English and helped the rules pass in the UK.
The Turks and the Greeks were also annoyed, because their leagues depended upon foreigners as well. The Turks, in particular, would not see some of their best players return (including the Altintops), since they citizenship to other countries. But their fierce patriotism did ensure a good deal of support for the rules.
The Scandinavian countries did not mind since their leagues weren't oversaturated with foreigners and they would see many of their players abroad return. They would also get to keep their youth products.
The Ukrainians and Russians were absolutely furious. They did not have much domestic talent and depended heavily upon foreigners. Their best teams would suffer a great deal from the rules, particularly Shaktar and Dinamo in Ukraine. Both at first refused to submit to foreign authorities telling them how to run their leagues, and continued to allow foreigners to play throughout the year of 2010. UEFA, however, had a card to play. Ukraine was planning on hosting the 2012 European Championships, and Russia was planning on hosting the World Cup in 2014. Right before the new year and just in time for the January 12th rule, UEFA declared that any defiance of the rules on their part would lead to them losing their tournaments.
Of course the big 4 were the most annoyed of all the leagues. The Bundesliga had a great deal of foreigners, particularly from Eastern Europe, and gaining citizenship in Germany takes a very long time. This meant hardly any few foreigners could stay. They wouldn't receive any new players since their national team was entirely based at home. All of the clubs would be effected equally, however, since the smaller clubs had many foreigners, too. But they were in a good position since there was so little debt held by German clubs and attendances were already so high, even though it wasn't the best league in the world. The Germans could continue to count on support from their fans. The German youth system was only improving, and many believed the Bundesliga in a few years, once the naturalized foreigners in the big 3 became old, would become the best in the world.
The Spanish were very disappointed, but Latin players only need two years to become citizens there, and many were already Spanish citizens. The league didn't have to lose many of its best players, and Messi and Ronaldo got to stay. Although they knew that talent would dry up in the future, the Spanish youth system seemed to be doing very well, and after the Euro and World Cup victories, the feeling of Spanish national pride was strong enough that they weren't bothered too much by losing out on foreigners.
The Italians were outraged. Serie A depends heavily on foreigners, especially since the Italians hadn't been producing great youth talent in a while. Attendance was already extremely low and people missed the glory days of the '90s. Things did not look too good for the future of Italian football, although their consolation was that many of the best players in the league had already gained Italian citizenship.
The reaction in England was the most heated out of any of the countries. Many, of course, were furious because many of the best players would have to leave. "Why the **** should I pay a thousand quid to watch a bunch of **** British players kick the ball up and down the field?!" Exclaimed an Arsenal supporter.
Others were happy to see the league rid of its many foreign players. "I hate giving my money to a bunch of overpaid foreign brats," a Stoke fan explained. "When I go to a game I want to see my countrymen play. It is, after all, the English Premier League. And it's going to be great for the national team!"
The pundit Andy Gray was thrilled that the foreigners would have to leave. "We've been overrating the non-British players for a long time now, and at the expense of our own players," he said. "If I painted my face brown and changed my name to N'Dugu, I could get signed by a Premiership club." Many were glad that the clubs that played British players would be rewarded, and the early title favorites were Manchester United, Aston Villa, and Tottenham. Everyone knew Arsenal was in serious trouble and would have to play reserves in its starting lineup, although Fabregas, Van Persie, and Eboue all had British citizenship.
Alongside the European leagues, the European Champions League lost some prestige as well. It didn't have a 0 foreigner rule, but since the non-naturalized players at European clubs were unable to play in league games, they were so out of form that they were never selected after the first or second match during the Champions League games. Russian and Ukrainian teams were the exception in the group stage, although would have to play the knockout rounds without any foreigners because of the January 12th rule. It was no longer the most prestigious tournament in the world. The Club World Cup, had replaced it, since it squared off the best teams from around the world. The South American leagues would become just as good as the European leagues, and so the Club World Cup was the only tournament that put the best teams from the best leagues together. Of course the Europeans would downplay any losses in it as they always have, but the intensity behind the competition totally changed from 2010 onward. Every club's primary desire was now to be Champion of the world.
This is my first story, FM11 save, and first South America save. Sorry for the length, my story won't have this stlyle/format when I write it, I just thought it merited a long prologue because of the uniqueness of my database and the ridiculous amount of time I spent on it.