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The England manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, is right when he argues that footballers should be allowed to entertain offers, even if they are still under contract. This is how most other professions work. It is time football removed the last vestiges of the old system in which players were treated as chattels, to be bought and sold, by football clubs.

The England manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, is right when he argues that footballers should be allowed to entertain offers, even if they are still under contract. This is how most other professions work. It is time football removed the last vestiges of the old system in which players were treated as chattels, to be bought and sold, by football clubs.

The reality is that "tapping up" goes on all the time. The main advantage of lifting the restriction would be that we would not have to endure the manufactured outrage that results whenever a player and a club - in this case Ashley Cole and Chelsea - are caught in the act.

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