“We should also protect the player and if the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found,” Blatter said. “Because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play, then it’s not good for the player and for the club … I’m always in favor to protect the player and if the player, he wants to leave, let him leave.
“I think in football, there’s too much modern slavery, in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere,” Blatter said. “We are trying now to intervene in such cases … the reaction to the Bosman law is to make long-lasting contacts to keep the players and then if he wants to leave, then there is only one solution, he has to pay his contract.”
I’m sorry. What’s that? You just compared a professional athlete to a slave? Are you out of your f*$&ing mind?!?!?! Comparing an absurdly well-compensated athlete to a person who was forced to leave their home and cross an ocean in mind-numbingly horrible conditions (in the case of African slaves) or duped into leaving their home and forced to perform vile acts (in the case of modern, sex-based slavery) is beyond absurd. There isn’t a lot that offends me in the world, but this does.
And that’s before I even get to the fact that he’s wrong. Soccer players aren’t slaves; far from it. They have an inordinate amount of power. They can whine and complain until they get what they want. Any number of transfers occur this way. Except that when a club puts its foot down, Blatter puts his foot in his mouth. (Yes, I’m fully aware of United’s dubious transfer history.) All clubs – from the biggest to the smallest – have every right to expect a player to honor his contract. In the case of Cristiano Ronaldo, this contract goes until 2012. He signed it of his own free will. He’s free to ask for a higher wage (any employee can do this) or, in a specifically athletic situation, he’s free to ask for a transfer. And the club is just as free to say, “Sorry, Ronny old boy, you’re a member of Manchester United and you’re going to stay that way for a little while longer.” Just because Ramon Calderon’s flapping mouth is agitating to sign him doesn’t mean that United have to give him up. And none of this is Sepp Blatter’s business because he’s the head of FIFA, not the head of either Manchester United FC or Real Madrid CF.