Taylor threatens to boycott transfer talks

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The Independent Football

Gordon Taylor, the chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, has threatened to pull out of talks on the search for an alternative to the present transfer system. Taylor, also the chairman of the international players' union FIFPro, is sceptical about the chances of a consensus being reached on the movement of players over the age of 23 by the October 31 deadline imposed by the European Commission.

Gordon Taylor, the chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, has threatened to pull out of talks on the search for an alternative to the present transfer system. Taylor, also the chairman of the international players' union FIFPro, is sceptical about the chances of a consensus being reached on the movement of players over the age of 23 by the October 31 deadline imposed by the European Commission.

In addition, in a statement released following yesterday's session chaired by the Fifa president Sepp Blatter, FIFPro have threatened to leave the Transfer Task Force which is charged with reaching agreement among football's club, associations, leagues and players.

"We have decided to participate one last time - on 12 October - at the discussions with Fifa, Uefa and the professional leagues which are aimed at formulating a solution to submit to the European Commission," said the statement. "After several working sessions and very long discussions, FIFPro has come to the conclusion that Uefa and the professional leagues have only one objective - namely gaining time and retaining the present system at any cost.

"FIFPro is the only body to propose a solution that could give an answer to the European Commission but for unknown reasons, it has not been adopted until now."

Taylor will highlight his concerns to the Competitions' Commissioner Mario Monti at a meeting in Brussels next week. However, he will travel to Zurich again before that in a bid to find a solution.

Taylor's major argument is that the players believe that EC law is on their side but rather than find common ground, Uefa and the clubs have sought instead to bend the rules to their own favour.

Blatter, who is not part of the Task Force, will continue the political lobbying process through proposed meetings with Tony Blair and his French and German counterparts, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder.

The Transfer Task Force chairman Per Omdal also confirmed that agreement had been reached on the banning of international transfers for players aged under 18 and also outlined a complicated formula for the movement of players under 23, although FIFPro claim these are solutions which they initially put forward.

A European body will draft a system which will introduce four main categories for football clubs. In England, these are expected to be those with youth academies, those with centres of excellence, semi-professional clubs and amateur clubs.

Once this system has been devised, the member associations will categorise each club and this will be used as a basis for the compensation for the training and development of players under the age of 24.

In all instances, the buying club will pay a sum equivalent to the cost of the training of that player in their country and category, regardless of where they are buying from.

An English Premier League club would pay a minimum of £430,000 for a 23-year-old player from any European Economic Area country who has been with a single club from the age of 12.

Meetings will be held in Switzerland over the next fortnight to try to find a way out of the impasse.

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