Blatter: Premier League is destroying football

LONDON - The increasing worldwide appeal of the Premier League is having a detrimental effect on other countries' domestic competitions, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on Friday.

"I have my concerns because the Premier League is the strongest in the world, definitely," Blatter told BBC Radio 5-Live.

"It is taking over in such a manner that the other leagues have difficulties to match it."

He added though, that despite its enormous global appeal, the league had a problem because so few clubs are able to mount a serious title challenge.

"In a competition where two-thirds or three-quarters of the participants in the league play not to be first, but not to be relegated, there is something wrong," he said.

Blatter said he was also concerned about the number of overseas players at Premier League clubs and that he would try to convince Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore to impose a minimum requirement for English players.

"I want to try to, if not persuade him then at least influence him in his thoughts that to have a minimum of local players will enhance the quality of his league," Blatter said.

He also voiced concerns over foreign ownership of English clubs, calling it a "risk" but something FIFA could do little to influence.

He added though, that the credit crunch might lead to such investors turning away and clubs returning to their roots.

"At the moment in the economic crisis, maybe the big investors and the big companies, will have less money to go in than local or regional investors who will be there because they identify themselves with the club," he said.

He also warned that England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup was by no means guaranteed success.

"What is the advantage of England?" he said.

"If you look at the technical infrastructure for stadiums and the organisation of football matches on the level of 50,000 people and upwards then they are ready to organise it, but they are not the only ones."