Manchester City executive chairman Garry Cook has hit back at Leeds chairman Ken Bates and FIFA president Sepp Blatter who are asking for points deductions for the ”poaching” of youngsters.
In an interview with ESPNsoccernet Cook said: “Everything to do with this is under the microscope, call it child trafficking, baby farming, whatever you like, it has opened up a Pandora’s Box, with everyone looking into that box, and clubs like ours are being unfairly pinpointed for all sorts of reasons.”
Bates is taking Manchester City to a tribunal over their signing of two 14-year-olds, George Swann and Louis Hutton, from Leeds United.
Bates’ action against came just as the Eastlands side were noted as the latest English club to come under scrutiny for their recruitment of a young player after FIFA confirmed they are investigating the signing of Jeremy Helan from Rennes.
Bates said that he wants to lead a major campaign against the practice of what he calls “baby farming”, referring to smaller clubs having their young players poached by Premier League teams.
But Cook responded: “We are going through the normal process, we have a dispute, and it will be judged by a tribunal. Isn’t that the appropriate course of action? I would question whether the right course of action is to air this in public, without the public knowing the full facts, which, in truth, should be confined to the tribunal.
“Good business principles would be to follow the process and rely upon it. Let’s gather all the facts and then come to a proper decision.
“At the moment it comes across as the small clubs getting small amounts of money from the big clubs, compared to the amount of money spent by Manchester City in the transfer market. But one thing has nothing to do with the other. I do object to some of the insinuations flying around without anyone having a grasp of the full facts.”