Vital Football

Latest Arsenal FC News

Young slaves are ok says Uefa

Young slaves are ok says Uefa

In a week when FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called for greater freedom of movement for players, branding the practice of clubs holding players to their contract as 'slavery` UEFA has presented a document to the EU which contains a demand for precisely the opposite according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Uefa are seeking exemption from EU freedom of movement laws for young players tying, or put more dramatically after the current fashion, enslaving themselves to one club until 18. No matter how unhappy they might be at the quality of training they are getting, perhaps impacting on family decisions to move elsewhere, or simply taking the chance to get a better education - a right that exists in virtually any other sphere of education or training. It seems bizarre that the world and the European governing bodies should see and define slavery in such different terms.

On the surface there is some merit in what Uefa are seeking to do. Ostensibly it`s intention is to prevent richer clubs from stripping smaller clubs of their assets before they can extract full value for a player they have discovered and nurtured. Nobody could argue with that surely. But is this what is happening in practice?

Cardiff were happy to let a young player they had nurtured, Aaron Ramsey, go to Arsenal for £5m. They would have been just as happy to let him go to ManU or Everton for the same amount. Southampton were presumably just as content to let Walcott go for an initial £5m plus whatever add ons were agreed. They were also willing to let Bale go to Tottenham for a similar deal. Given their current financial plight Southampton might have been put into greater distress if they were prevented from doing these deals. Gillingham weren`t unhappy at taking £2.5m for a 15 year old player, Luke Freeman, who, no matter what promise he shows at that age, does not guarantee the same promise will be there 3 years or more later. If he does the reputed add on £2m based on him doing so will be gleefully accepted. A good each way bet for a club like Gillingham. Earlier Notts County were happy to take a similar amount from Arsenal for Jermaine Pennant. Deals that couldn't have taken place under the Uefa proposal.

Palace chairman Simon Jordan was less happy to see Bostock go to Tottenham for a fee set by the footballing authorities themselves but by and large this isn`t a problem between big clubs and small clubs. It is an issue between big clubs and big clubs. It`s about Fabregas going from Barcelona to Arsenal even though that deal was 5 years ago and has since been put into a different context with the Spanish judgement in respect of Fran Merida. Fabregas himself might well take the view that his career has progressed much quicker than it would have done had he spent 5 years in the shadow of Xavi. That he got where he wanted to go quicker because he was able to move. In his case whose interests should have been paramount - the club or the player?

The number of such players being taken from their academies against the will of the clubs is relatively small. When it does happen, as in the Bostock case, it is because of a difference in valuation rather than principle. It all comes down to the same vulgar issue of money every time.

It will be difficult to reconcile Uefa`s objective with EU law but in any event they would be better served trying to introduce something that meets the objectives of small clubs, big clubs and the young players themselves instead of pursuing some ideological obsession. Appealing to inveterate committee types but not really serving the game in any constructive sense. Even if it is an unlikely scenario at present should an English player seek to complete his education in France or Spain, Germany or Italy why should Uefa seek to prevent it? Who benefits if a youngster making a choice at 12 or 14 is told that he is stuck with his choice when the Fifa President is arguing that older players should be allowed to move if that is their wish. If that is true then how is child 'slavery` anymore acceptable?

If it`s about money, and we all know it is, rather than choice then give a developing club a life time share in any subsequent transfer fee for any player from their academy. Now I reckon Arsenal might do quite well out of that.

Join Vital Arsenal

It's easy to register , simply click the link and enjoy getting involved (you can even win prizes!)

Message Board To visit the message board, click here. Get involved

Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Sunday July 13 2008
Time: 12:01PM


FIFA and UEFA are contradicting each otherand themselves on a weekly basis now, this schizophrenia in the governing bodies has to be questioned. How can Bladder say one week that the 6+5 rule must come in, limiting player's prospects of movement, and then say players should be allowed tomove when and where they like the next week. Watching FIFA and UEFAs movements at the moment is a bit like watching a *****ed uncle dance at a wedding, it's embarrassing, cringeworthy and all the more galling because you know they're not joking.
Little Dutch
13/07/2008 12:08:00
lol, Blatter thinks with his ass.
13/07/2008 12:19:00
Let's see what they'd say when we get Bischoff from Werder on a free and probably some small compensation..!
Lou the Gunneress
13/07/2008 16:57:00
Most protectionist and restrictive practices end up creating problems that would have been avoided if the bodies implementing them could only see themselves as 'enabling' rather than 'disabling'.
13/07/2008 19:00:00
I see where UEFA are coming with this. Cases where 15-16 year old footballers are being signed by English clubs is increasing with every passing year and some of the continental clubs are suffering as a result. IMO something should be done about this, but not in the manner that UEFA has proposed above. A proper compensation package needs to be worked out. I do find the principle unfair that a club spends its resources on training a player, yet they are not compensated adequately for it. The share in any subsequent transfer fee seems like a good idea and UEFA needs to look at financial solutions rather than blocking the movement of these kids.
13/07/2008 23:16:00
You forgot the lad Petrucci from Roma that we got this summer. Roma were far from pleased. (
14/07/2008 14:37:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Arsenal Articles

Congratulations Leicester City

The Foxes are Premier League Champions

Who Will Arsenal Face In 2016/17 (3/5/16)

With less than a handful of games remaining in the 2015/16 campaign, some promotions and relegations in the football pyramid are already known.

Wenger Comments On Fan Protests

Arsenal manager speaks about a tough weekend

That Was Tough To Watch

Arsene on the receiving end of fans wrath

Archived Vital Arsenal Articles

Vital Arsenal articles from

Site Journalists

Editor email
no email
no email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Is it time for Wenger to go?
Suggested By:
In The Summer4%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Leicester City 36 22 11 3 77 30
2 Spurs 36 19 13 4 70 39
3 Arsenal 36 19 10 7 67 25
4 Man City 36 19 7 10 64 30
5 Man Utd 35 17 9 9 60 12
6 West Ham 35 15 14 6 59 17
7 Southampton 36 16 9 11 57 14
8 Liverpool 35 15 10 10 55 11
9 Chelsea 35 12 12 11 48 7
10 Stoke 36 13 9 14 48 -14
11 Everton 35 10 14 11 44 6
12 Watford 35 12 8 15 44 -6
13 Swansea 36 11 10 15 43 -13
14 WBA 36 10 11 15 41 -14
15 AFC Bournemouth 36 11 8 17 41 -20
16 Crystal Palace 36 10 9 17 39 -10
17 Newcastle 36 8 9 19 33 -25
18 Sunderland 35 7 11 17 32 -18
19 Norwich 35 8 7 20 31 -26
R Aston Villa 36 3 7 26 16 -45
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Arsenal Results (view all)

Arsenal Fixtures (view all)

May 8 2016 4:00PM : Manchester City (a)
Barclays Premier League
May 15 2016 3:00PM : Aston Villa (H)
Barclays Premier League

Vital Members League Table

1.Wyn Mills5
2.Galway Gooner4
6.Leon Kingsford1