FIFA president Sepp Blatter has warned of the perils of foreign investors becoming involved in football for financial gain.
“There exists a system in football at the moment that if we don’t stop it will do serious damage,” Blatter told a news conference after being made an honorary member of Real Madrid.
“There are investors who buy clubs, especially in England which happens to be the most attractive but not the best league. There are investors from Iran, Russia, the United States, Georgia all involved there.
“There are a number of organisations that are not transparent, many of which are based in the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar and the Cayman Islands. It is a very delicate matter and we need the help of the judicial authorities in all countries to deal with it.”
Blatter alluded to Premier League clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Portsmouth before highlighting today’s takeover of West Ham United.
“The latest case we have seen is the president of the Icelandic Federation (Eggert Magnusson) buying West Ham…we need to be careful football doesn’t end up in the hands of people who want football to serve them instead of them serving football.”
Blatter also said he was worried about the number of players from Brazil and Argentina entering Europe via Portugal and Spain.
“It’s a very dangerous activity and it’s very difficult to identify where the money comes from and where it goes to,” he said.
Blatter was also unhappy that club owners could exploit their positions to further their political careers.
“In some cases a club can be used as a platform for politics such as in Italy,” he said.
“People are getting involved in football for political reasons ahead of football interests. We must safeguard the independence of football and we need the help of politicians to do this.
“It’s one way of achieving a balance in the different clubs and leagues,” he said.
“What we need to do is study it and not just say it won’t work. It might give clubs more incentive to train and develop young players themselves rather than just sign ones who are already developed.
“The local and national identification doesn’t exist when there are 11 players from 11 different countries. In one game in the Italian league last season Inter Milan had only one European player in the 11 on the pitch,” said Blatter.
“Of course it won’t please the big clubs but it might help rectify the financial imbalances.”