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Napoli lose Ninkovic race to Genoa thanks to stupid rule

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The "non-EU player acquisitions" rules in Italian football really need to just go away.

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Remember how excited we were about Nikola Ninkovic earlier? Well that excitement has turned into disappointment, because he just signed with Genoa. How, do you ask, did that happen, since Napoli were so close to signing him?

Blame the FIGC.

Italy has a very bad rule on the books, and it just hamstrung Napoli. There's a limitation on how many non-European Union players you can bring in every season, and Napoli used all of theirs up already by signing Elseid Hysaj and Gabriel.

I know your next question. "Only two?" Yes, that's the ridiculously low amount of non-EU transfers the FIGC allows its teams. Napoli thought that they had opened up an extra slot to sign Ninkovic with by selling Henrique, but apparently selling non-EU players to teams outside the EU doesn't count any more. Nor does loaning Camilo Zuniga to Bologna count, because loans out don't "free up" a spot despite loans in filling them.

It's a horrible rule, and it's made worse by the "use it or lose it" rule that leads to sham signings of non-EU players like Francis Obeng, who Carpi, Roma, and Napoli have all signed at different times to keep their spots available. And make no mistake -- even though this rule only impacts players from outside the European Union, the FIGC would lock down any non-Italian transfers if pesky EU labor laws didn't prevent it.

Since all this means that Napoli can't sign another non-EU player this season, that means they had to pass on Ninkovic, freeing up Genoa to sign him instead and loan him to Chievo like Napoli had planned. All because a bunch of old white men wanted to keep the foreigners out.

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It's deadline day, and that means a different brand of coverage. Shorter articles, and less analysis in the moment -- instead leaving that for if it's needed later on -- and a much lower BS filter than normal. Days like today only come twice a year, so soak in the amazing chaos and enjoy.