Russia to allow more foreigners on soccer field

MOSCOW — Russia will allow soccer clubs to field eight foreign players from the 2020-21 season, loosening long-standing and controversial protections for local players.

Current rules mean clubs must have at least five Russians on the field at all times, but that will drop to three.

However, clubs won't be allowed to have more than eight foreigners in the total squad for the season. That's unlikely to pose a problem for most teams — Spartak Moscow and CSKA Moscow have eight apiece already — but could force Zenit St. Petersburg, with 14 foreign players on its books, to sell some fringe players.

The current rules had been widely criticized for shielding Russian players from competition for places in the starting lineup.

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