Leading article: Games without frontiers

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The Independent Online

It’s almost like defecting to the enemy, isn’t it? No fewer than three England rugby players are to leave London Wasps when the season ends, after signing to play in France. The Wasps’ chairman blames the cap on salaries at English clubs. “In financial terms,” he says, “we are no longer on a level playing field. It does raise great concern that French clubs can now blow the English clubs away when it comes to salaries.”

Oh dear, oh dear, where have we heard such laments before? Let’s switch to football, where the (French) president of Uefa, Michel Platini, has regularly denounced English clubs for fielding so many high-priced foreign players that they are hardly English at all. Or French coaches, such as Erik Gerets of Marseille, who complain that very good French players have been deserting their home country for the higher rewards on offer in England. Welcome, Wasps, to the world of the market. Every once in a while the boot is going to be on the other foot.