FIFA president Sepp Blatter has warned about the perils of rich clubs trying to seize control of national governing bodies in a bid to “emasculate the international game”.
In the ongoing ‘club versus country’ row, Blatter expressed his concerns about a sport dominated by the top few clubs.
“For wealthy clubs to try to emasculate the international game by seizing control of a national football association – as I read that some fear they are trying to do in England – is plain unacceptable,” he wrote in a column in the Financial Times newspaper.
“It is an attempt to undermine the very foundation of what any such association is all about: in the case of England, this means looking after the interests of about 45,000 clubs, so that youngsters of all backgrounds and ages can enjoy their game…
“Football must remain entertainment for all. It must not become the plaything of a greedy few who believe that their financial strength gives them the legitimacy to call the shots, abandon the grass roots and destroy the very foundation of the national game.”
Blatter also warned about the gloabalisation of the sport.
“The process of globalisation, that affects all our lives, is exerting a malign influence on football and pushing the world’s favourite sport in an unsavoury direction. What is more, for once, Europe appears to be setting the pace.
“The conflict between national teams and a handful of apparently omnipotent clubs is set to intensify in the near future. When it does, spectators, non-Europeans and football itself will all lose out.”
“It is … misguided to believe that club competitions can ever be of more interest to people around the world than the matches their national teams are playing.
“And to try and replace the high drama of country against country clashes with artificial professional league championships in which any number of players originating from any number of countries claim to be defending the colours of a supposedly English club is frankly a recipe for disaster.”