FIFA president Sepp Blatter has accused Europe’s richest clubs of behaving despicably and engaging in “social and economic rape” of the world’s football talent.
“I find it unhealthy, if not despicable for rich clubs to send scouts shopping in Africa, South America and Asia to ‘buy’ the most promising players there,” Blatter wrote in a column in Wednesday’s Financial Times newspaper.
“Europe’s leading clubs conduct themselves increasingly as neo-colonialists who don’t give a damn about heritage and culture, but engage in social and economic rape by robbing the developing world of its best players.
“Dignity and integrity tend to fall by the wayside in what has become a glorified body market.
“If we are not careful, football may degenerate into a game of greed – a trend I will vigorously oppose.”
Blatter also hit out at the number of foreign imports in the English game.
“I am also disturbed by the recent trend whereby players representing wealthy clubs in England and elsewhere are increasingly a hotchpotch of nationalities,” he said.
“Many clubs don’t deserve to be regarded as English any more because they are dominated by foreign legionnaires, whose allegiance is solely to whichever paymaster happens currently to be rewarding them to the tune of £30,000, £50,000 or even £100,000 a week.”
Blatter contrasted the ethics of Europe’s leading clubs with his own organisation.
He said FIFA, under Swiss Law, was a “non-profit” association unlike “billionaire clubs” who “have to maximise their own income…to absorb the ludicrously high player costs they are now lumbered with as a result of their own private but cut-throat competition to sign up the biggest stars.”
The FIFA president also reaffirmed his refusal to compensate clubs for the release of players for international matches.
“FIFA does not sit on the money generated by the World Cup and other tournaments,” he said.
“It pays a grand total of $264 million to the 204 national associations and six confederations over such a period. It follows that claims such as the G14’s for clubs to be compensated for releasing their players for major tournaments should be addressed not to FIFA, but to the FAs who receive the vast majority of the funds generated.”