Comment: Platini's Got Blatt In Pocket
UEFA President Michel Platini's quest to ban all European transfers under 18 years old was given a boost today as the like minded FIFA President Sepp Blatter waded into the debate...
Now before I go on, this isn't a Manchester City fan going into one because FIFA are investigating Jeremy Helan's transfer from Rennes to The Blues at Rennes request because at Vital MC Blatter and Platini's long standing dislike of English Premier League football's draw and popularity has been well documented. None of us were surprised when City swiftly followed Chelsea and the rags as English club's accused by French club's of youth transfer subterfuge and illegal activity.
After Mark Hughes' unprecedented revamping of a going nowhere City squad this summer and the hysterical hack attention that followed it, right up to this week when David Maddocks of the Daily Mirror condoned the Wembley boo-ing of Joleon Lescott as an anti-Man City protest, then something had to give.
It seems too much of a co-incidence for three French clubs to kick up a stink towards the Premier League in a matter of weeks. Platini is idolised in France and regularly given a platform for his views. Just call me Grassy Knollington out of Viz.
But back to his pal Blatter. Not only has he started going after the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Football Associations for banning their players from joining a British Olympic team, he's thrown his considerable power behind Platini:
'We have now had a case at Chelsea to analyse. It has been done by a committee with a judge and representatives of many clubs. That has now been settled. There are clubs now who are looking at their books, some have even announced that a certain player has no contract with them and he is an amateur. They have done this to try to make sure that the player does not come under the jurisdiction of congress.'
Be interesting to know who those clubs he refers to in both instances are. He went on, omitting the 'child slavery' quotes both he and Platini have used before:
'The case we have just decided on is one with a player going from France to England. But most of the cases we have on our desk are from Africa to Europe or South America to Europe. They are taken at 14 or 15 years old with clubs saying that their parents are going too. But they get put into another family, and what happens to them?
'One out of say 20 has a chance to go on in their career. The others are left, and they need to be protected. There is an age limit in the FIFA statute that stops a player being transferred internationally until he is 18. The European Union is different, it is 16.'
'...I have been asked by officials in Brazil to stop the exodus of their young players. We will do the same in Africa. We are trying to organise leagues so players there can earn a decent living. That takes time, but we have started because it is the only way to protect young players.
All well and good, fair enough, but we need some equilibrium here. Much as Ligue 1 has become a Premier League feeder division, the amount of African players endlessly piling into France remains stunning. To date, nobody has come forward publicly slating French, Italian or Spanish clubs.
Amid all this stand the likes of Real Madrid. Seemingly untouchable on all fronts considering the amount of transfers they have made in the past decade. Were they all absolutely legitimate?
No matter who you support and no matter where you stand on this hot pomme de terre, you must admit that if the scale of what amounts to alledged corruption is so worldwidespread (Blatter must be talking about a high number of player movements) then how come only one transfer involving Chelsea has led to sanctions?
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