Brazil’s Serie A lifts foreign players quota to nine

March 7 – Teams will be allowed to field a maximum of nine foreign players in Brazil’s topflight following a unanimous vote by the Serie A clubs.

It is the second time in a row that the clubs voted for more foreigners in the league. In 2023, the limit was raised from five to seven with the clubs behind the drive to further liberalise the rule.

However, Brazil’s national federation of professional football players, the Federação Nacional dos Atletas Profissionais de Futebol (Fenapaf), had opposed the new rule, arguing that already more than 140 foreign players feature in Brazil’s top two divisions.

Fenapaf president Alfredo Sampaio said: “I have already engaged with the president of the CBF on the topic by letter. It was five and became seven. Now they want nine. It’s too foreign. Brazilian football needs some relief.”

Last season, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, France’s Dimitri Payet and Algeria’s Islam Slimani were among the most high-profile players in the Serie A.

The new rule could lead to a scenario where Brazilian players are vastly outnumbered in the starting XI of teams. That scenario remains unlikely, but the new rule may change the dynamic of domestic player paths and the transfer market.

Academy players might struggle to find a route into the first time while Brazil’s economic dominance in the region might mean the country becomes the first port of call for South American players before they move elsewhere.

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