Cristiano Ronaldo- the modern day slave?

11Jul08

 

FIFA president Sepp Blatter often preaches his unwise or unworkable opinions. Maybe this time he has gone a step too far? The uncomfortable comparison between the united star’s current predicament and the slave trade is quite  astounding. Poor Ronaldo, having to survive on just £100,000 a week, having to play football nearly every day and being forced to lift premiership and champions league titles. My heart bleads…

In effect, Blatter is calling for the application of one-sided contracts, which would lead to the abolition of the transfer market. This is due to the fact if a player decides he wants to leave, he would have to be allowed, even if two clubs couldn’t agree on a transfer fee. This would eliminate clubs playing assets, allowing footballing mercenaries to move to the highest bidder (in terms of wages). This would lead to the richest clubs securing the best players, which would surely polarise clubs even further.

As ever, it seems Blatter has not thought through his most recent verbal splurge. UEFA communications director William Gaillard felt he should add “It would be useful to remind people that slaves in all of the slavery systems never earned a wage”. UEFA seem to be more connected with modern day proffessional football world, compared to the corrupt, outdated and detached World Governing Body.

Footballing slavery has, and probably still does, exist. In the 70’s and 80’s many European clubs lured young Africans on contracts that seemed lucrative but were exploitative in that the players were unaware on the cost of living in the European countries. This led to players being tied to long contracts and having to live in poverty far from home. 

There was also the transfer-and-retain system in England up until the challenge of George Eastham, a member of the 1966 World Cup winning squad. The system allowed clubs to retain a player, often at a reduced wage, and prevent him from signing for another club. Eastham, who quit football in 1960 after Newcastle refused his requests to join another club, returned to the game the following year, when he signed for Arsenal for £47,000. A campaign supported by the Professional Footballers’ Association brought an end to the “retention” aspect of the transfer system.

Player power has been on the rise since Jean-Marc Bosman won a landmark case in 1996. This allowed footballers to move freely to another club at the end of their contract, leading to more lucrative salaries, longer contracts and huge signing on fees. One-sided contracts would be a step in the wrong direction by an organisation that is being led by a confused president. I hope Michel Platini is able to implement his vision for the modern game before Blatter has the chance to put his spin on it.

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