Football: Blatter presses Fifa's case for post-Bosman transfer fees

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The Independent Online
Fifa, football's world governing body, is to consider three strategies for transfers in the wake of the Bosman ruling when officials meet next month, their secretary-general, Sepp Blatter, said yesterday.

Blatter said the plans would aim to restore some form of transfer fees, as small clubs and poorer countries need compensating when the young players they have nurtured leave.

"One day, children will reward their parents for their education," he said.

He was hopeful of working out a solution with the European Union, particularly because Britain will soon take over the EU presidency for six months. "We hope [Prime Minister] Tony Blair will protect football more than his predecessor," Blatter said.

Among other announcements made yesterday was the news that there will be no perimeter fences at the 10 stadiums to be used at the World Cup finals, the French organisers announced. Two cities - St-Etienne and Lens - were holding out against a Fifa order to bring down all protective fences. However, Jacques Lambert, managing director of the France 98 committee, said both cases were close to being resolved.

"Prisoners and wild animals should be behind bars, not football fans. They are not animals," Blatter said. "In October 1996, many people died in a World Cup match in Guatemala. That was nothing to do with fighting, but because they were too excited and wanted to invade the pitch. The fences stopped them - the fences are death-traps and caused that catastrophe."

England's bid to land the 2006 World Cup received a fillip as Franz Beckenbauer, a figurehead of the German campaign, conceded that the tide was turning against his country holding the finals.

Beckenbauer made his public approach to the Football Association at the Football Expo 98 fair in Singapore.

"We are both wasting money," Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner as captain and coach, said of the multi-million pound campaigns being run by both nations.

He added: "It will split the European vote and South Africa will get the 2006 World Cup if it goes on like this." The FA's reaction was guarded, but not unenthusiastic.

"We have great respect for Franz Beckenbauer," their director of public affairs, David Davies, said. "We're bound to give serious consideration to what he has said although we understand that up to this point Fifa have not been encouraging joint bids. Our campaign has been going very well. It continues."