x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

United anger at 'slave' jibe

Sepp Blatter has a powerful voice, but maybe the Fifa president should have kept quiet over Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer situation.

Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport after his ankle operation on Tuesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport after his ankle operation on Tuesday.

LONDON // Sepp Blatter has a powerful voice, but maybe the Fifa president should have kept quiet over Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer situation as he incurred the wrath of Manchester United. The Fifa president used the United star's protracted move to Real Madrid as an example of "modern slavery" within the game, claiming the Portugal star should be allowed to leave if he wants even though he has a contract until 2012 with the Champions League winners.

"If the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found. 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," he said. "I'm always in favour of protecting the player and if the player, he wants to leave, let him leave. I think in football there's too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there."

United, obviously, disagree. They are fighting overtures from Real, who are keen to lure Ronaldo to Spain, and would have liked football's most powerful man to support the employers, not the employees when it comes to upholding contract commitments. United responded firmly to his comments yesterday as a spokesman said: "All our players - like at other clubs - enter into their contracts after an open and free negotiation.

"Most of whom do after taking advice from a Fifa-registered agent. Many do so on a number of occasions and enjoy long and successful stays at Old Trafford." Chelsea have vowed to ensure Frank Lampard honours the remaining year of his contract as they haggle over a new deal and Inter Milan make their interest known. The Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry, the Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor and David Bentley, at Blackburn, are also players who have expressed a desire to leave even though they are under contract.

Uefa do not agree with Blatter and said the Bosman ruling, which came into force in 1995, allowing players to leave on a free transfer at the end of their contract, had given players more power. The communications director William Gaillard, who also serves as special adviser to the Uefa president Michel Platini, said: "It would be useful to remind people that slaves in all of the slavery systems never earned a wage. It seems that both clubs and players are trying to negotiate an exit before the player is free. It is a consequence of the Bosman ruling. It is obvious that today players have a lot more power than they did 20 years ago."

@Email:akhan@thenational.ae