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Slavery?
July 11th, 2008 7AM

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After FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that "there's too much modern slavery" in player-club relations, UEFA Communications director William Gaillard dismissed the idea of exploited players, citing player power for salaries that are "spiraling out of control."

"It would be useful to remind people that slaves in all of the slavery systems never earned a wage," said Gaillard.

Gaillard's statement came in response to a Blatter's comment on the prevalence of long-term contracts:

"I think in soccer, there's too much modern slavery, in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere. We are trying now to intervene in such cases ... the reaction to the Bosman law is to make long-lasting contracts to keep the players and then if he wants to leave, then there is only one solution, he has to pay his contract."

The comments were prompted by the Cristiano Ronaldo "will he stay at Man U or go Real Madrid" saga.

"We should also protect the player and if the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found," said Blatter. "Because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play, then it's not good for the player and for the club ... I'm always in favor to protect the player and if the player, he wants to leave, let him leave."

The EU's Bosman ruling granted free agency - i.e., banning transfer fees for out-of-contract players - which spurred clubs to seek long-term contracts.

Gaillard said, ''It seems that both clubs and players are trying to negotiate an exit before the player is free [at the end of his contract]. It is a consequence of the Bosman ruling - there is nothing we can do about that. It is obvious that today players have a lot more power than they did 20 years ago, undoubtedly, and agents have a lot more power than they did 20 years ago."



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