The Football Association of Montenegro (FSCG) is looking to protect local talent after introducing rules to limit the use of foreign players.
The new Prva Crnogorska season has seen a radical policy take shape, with a maximum of four non-Montenegrin citizens allowed in any match squad. With Montenegro having separated from Serbia in May 2006, a substantial number of Serbian-born players remain in the country, but the FSCG has enforced new laws to encourage local stars. The association's president, and former AC Milan attacker, Dejan Savićević is sure the move can only help local football. "We must protect our young players, who develop in our football schools and play for our national teams," he said. "It is better to give them a chance than to bring in average players from other countries."
Montenegro assistant coach Branko Brnović agreed. "Four foreigners is maybe too many," he said. "Even fewer might be better. In most European countries, foreign players have to be much better than local players but not in Montenegro. I have nothing against foreign players, but they must bring quality, not mediocrity." Not all clubs have found the new rules easy to adapt to. FK Budućnost Podgorica and FK Zeta both have seven foreigners in their squads, meaning at least three will miss out for every league game. While there is little disagreement about the spirit of the ruling, some clubs are feeling the pinch a little.
"There is nothing wrong with the FSCG rule," said Zeta president Radojica Božović. "But we are small country, and our footballing base is very small so clubs are forced to sign players from other countries. We did a good job signing two Brazilians in Cadu and Savio so it's clear that clubs can find good foreign players." FK Rudar Pljevlja president Duško Šarić is hoping the rules might be relaxed a little, saying: "I hope that from January clubs will be allowed to have two more foreigners on the bench. We have the Brazilian Alex, who is a very good striker but cannot play, and Dušan Nestorović, who was born just 30km over the border in Serbia but is also a foreigner."
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.