Taylor plan falls flat thanks to Champagne

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The Independent Online

The controversy surrounding Gordon Taylor's refusal to attend Friday's vital talks on the future of the transfer system took a further twist yesterday, after it emerged that he had spent most of Friday morning sat in his hotel room waiting for a call from Fifa which never came.

The controversy surrounding Gordon Taylor's refusal to attend Friday's vital talks on the future of the transfer system took a further twist yesterday, after it emerged that he had spent most of Friday morning sat in his hotel room waiting for a call from Fifa which never came.

Taylor, who is the chairman of the European players' union Fifpro, was expecting to be told what Sepp Blatter, the president of the world's governing body, thought of a series of counter-proposals - to those outlined by the Fifa-backed Transfer Task Force - which he had sent them for review. But the call failed to materialise because Blatter's personal adviser, Jérome Champagne, didn't think the mood of the meeting was conducive to Fifpro's plans being presented, even though a delegation from the organisation had stayed up most of the previous night in a desperate attempt to find a formula which could satisfy both parties.

Taylor and Blatter had been involved in an extraordinary war of words in Zurich on Friday, with both sides accusing the other of refusing to co-operate. Blatter wanted to know why Taylor had not attended the meeting, while the Englishman was anxious to be told why his counter-proposals had not so much as been acknowledged.

Yesterday, though, it emerged that the vast majority of the delegates who attended Friday's meeting had no knowledge of the existence of Taylor's proposals. The Uefa secretary general, Gerhard Aigner, even admitted that the first he had heard of the matter was when he saw Taylor's press conference outburst.

Members of the Task Force will now meet in Zurich tomorrow afternoon to complete the final draft of their solution to the legal challenge to the current system. They will present the competition commissioner, Mario Monti, with a series of points.

These will include banning all international transfers for players under 18; setting up a training and development compensation package to cover the costs of educating and nurturing talent between the ages of 12-23; introducing a bi-annual transfer window; restricting each individual player to one move per season; agreeing for national law to take precedence in all transfers within a single European Union state; and forming an arbitration panel, which will use a 12-point guide to rule on all cross-border transfers.

After examining the proposals, Taylor said he felt that too many of them had been considerably watered down. "The proposals that the Task Force are putting forward are ambiguous and look as though they have been drafted with the hidden agenda of maintaining the status quo," he said.

"We will wait to see what the EC think of the Task Force's proposals, but I would personally be astounded if they found them acceptable."

Taylor added: "We have had lengthy discussions with Commissioner Monti and his staff, over a period of months, and if this goes through they have been giving us completely the wrong information."

The split, which was clearly not helped by Champagne's oversight, has now ended any realistic hopes of football presenting a unified front to the European Commission when they meet them in Brussels on Tuesday.

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