Blatter hits out at 'football's suffocating greed'

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has launched an astonishing attack on football's financial excesses and has warned that the obscene amount of money in the sport threatens to "suffocate the game".

Writing in today's Financial Times, Blatter said Fifa "cannot sit by and see greed rule the football world" and said a Fifa taskforce will try to combat the excesses.

Blatter voiced concerns about the haphazard way money has come into the game and said it was "reminiscent of a misguided wild-west style of capitalism".

In an attack sure to interest Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, Blatter said the source of wealth at a few clubs was from "individuals with little history of interest in the game" who had stumbled across football to serve a hidden agenda. Blatter said if nothing was done, the money could suffocate football.

Blatter said Fifa was concerned by excessive wage demands made by "semi-educated, sometimes foul-mouthed" players guided by "unsavoury" agents. "It is insane for any player to earn £6m-£8 a year when the annual budget of a club competing in the Champions' League may be less than half that," Blatter said.

He also condemned the practice where commercial rights to young players are bought by speculators who generate a profit each time those players are subsequently sold, branding it a new type of slavery.

Meanwhile, enmity and tension will surround the World Cup qualifier in Belgrade between Serbia & Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina tonight.

The countries were at war barely a decade ago and security will be tight tonight when they meet with a debut appearance in the World Cup at stake. The Serbs, who have home advantage, start as favourites.

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