Football: Clubs and agents accused of `slavery'
Thursday 18 December 1997
Roger Blanplain, a professor at Belgium's Leuven university, said yesterday that he is taking court action against agents and clubs for their methods.
"That sort of slave trade in which someone is bought cheaply and sold expensively... totally violates the basic principle that people are not merchandise and labour is not a merchandise, and this has to be challenged in a radical way," Blanpain said.
In an open letter he urged the chief prosecutors in the cities of Antwerp and Bruges to investigate trade of Eastern European players "which apparently takes place on a large scale in Belgium".
Blanpain was acting after a newspaper article in Het Nieuwsblad on Tuesday describing the large influx of players from East Europe.
The paper said "the delivery of Yugoslav and Croatian footballers to Belgium "was often organised through an Antwerp agent.
"These players are often placed at a club-employer and then possibly sold with a profit to another club-employer," Blanpain said in the letter.
He said these practices violated Belgian law which prohibited the broking of jobs in exchange for money.
Blanpain also criticised the move earlier this week of Bruges player Gunter Verjans to Antwerp on loan for a six-month period.
The move of Verjans, who has a contract with Bruges until 2000, breached the law on temporary employment, Blanpain said.
He asked the Antwerp and Bruges courts to examine the practices and, if needed, start legal proceedings to end them and prevent them from happening again.
Blanpain said it had been difficult to prove the trade in players.
"Players can't speak or don't dare to speak, club leaders will certainly not speak and agents are also very careful about what they say." he said.
"[But] now it can be proven, now there are clear facts showing there is a swindle in players." he said in a reference to the newspaper article.
Belgian football agent, Louis De Vries, told a radio station that agents were just trying to help players find a job, for a commission fee.
"As long as these [transfer] rules are valid internationally, there is nothing that can be done against it.
"[But] it would be easier for everyone in footall, also for agents and certainly for players, if no transfer sums would have to be paid." De Vries said.
West Ham are to wait until they know the full extent of goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko's neck injury before deciding whether to pursue the French international, Bernard Lama.
Miklosko could be ruled out for up to three months, but the Hammers, who have Canada international Craig Forrest as their current No 1, will not be rushed into finding a replacement until they know for sure.
Lama was yesterday reported to have confirmed he had already been involved in talks with the West Ham managing director, Peter Storrie, about a possible move to London.
The 34-year-old Paris St Germain goalkeeper, who has been capped 35 times by France, has been searching for a new club since being suspended for three months at the end of last season following a positive drugs test.
The French national coach, Aime Jacquet has told him he will not be considered for next year's World Cup finals unless he is playing regular first-team football.
Lama said: "I've no comment to make until things are settled. But I need to find a club to make France's World Cup squad."
Two Romanians playing in the Bundesliga, Ionut Lupescu and Florin Raducioiu, said yesterday that they would not play for their country at next summer's World Cup finals in France.
Latest in Sport
MK Dons 4 Manchester United 0: Emmanuel Frimpong and Edin Dzeko lead the jokes as the internet reacts to humiliating defeat
Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
Manchester United transfer news: Daley Blind will only move for 'top price'
Arsenal vs Besiktas match report: Alexis Sanchez scores only goal as Gunners survive night of nerves to qualify for Champions League
Arsenal vs Besiktas player ratings: Alexis Sanchez? Jack Wilshere? Mesut Ozil? Who was the star man at the Emirates Stadium?
- 1 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 2 Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
- 3 Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
- 4 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 5 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...
£28000 - £32500 Per Annum + 28 days holiday, pension, discounts and more: Clea...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...
£20000 - £24000 Per Annum 28 days holiday, free parking, pension: Clearwater P...