Football: Clubs and agents accused of `slavery'

A leading Belgian law professor has accused football of "slavery" in the game's treatment of players from Eastern Europe.

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Subsea Cables Installation Project Manager

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Subsea Cables Installation Project Manager

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Head of Offshore Operations & Interfaces

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Offshore Engineering Design Manager

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices