Save our Soccer

So perhaps £37m was a little steep, but that was the price Real Madrid were happy to pay for Luis Figo, the man who tormented England fans back in the Euro 2000 Championships. The player was happy (who wouldn't be, earning his salary), the clubs were, the supporters were, everyone was happy - or so it seemed.

Unfortunately for football, European Commissioners Mario Monti and Viviane Reding were not happy; they want to see the current fee system dead and it seems as though they don't care if they damage football at the same time.

The present system is far from perfect, but it seems to work. Big clubs like it because they can buy assets which add value to their business, smaller clubs like it because occasionally it provides them with income - sometimes very large sums of money - when the sale of one player can keep a club solvent. Players like the present system because they have security and they can move around if that's what they really want.

The new proposals will be bad for players and clubs alike. Players will be able to leave a club at short notice, currently estimated at three months, and clubs will be able to ditch players just as easily. Clubs will lose nearly all the value of their key assets overnight because players will only be worth what they would be paid for the rest of their contract.

But fans will lose out as well. Some people might moan because we have too many top quality foreign players in England at the moment - imagine what they will say when players are coming and going all the time and their team changes completely every couple of months - no point having a player's name on the back of your shirt any more!

With these proposals, why would any club bother to spend good money on developing and training young players if they know they will not be able to recoup some of their investment by selling players on?

So can these proposals by stopped? I believe we should try. This is not - and should not be - a matter for interference by the European Commission.

That is why I ask you to write to me to join the campaign against the outlawing of transfer fees. Every letter I get will be forwarded to the European Commission and I am sure that the message will soon get through.

My address is: European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, B-1047, Brussels, Belgium. E-mail address: ratkins@europarl.eu.int

Thank you.

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