Isn’t it amazing how long it takes Fifa to put put five words together and then act upon them. Football’s transfer system is flawed and everybody knows it, so why is it only now that constructive action is being taken?
The biggest problem faced by the current system is the widespread tapping-up of players and the lack of either a deterrent or preventative measures. Prior to last week’s transfer ban on Chelsea, little had been done to catch offenders and even when charged, the resultant punishments have been meaningless. A five or six figure fine for example, is going to do nothing to deter a team that regularly shells out tens of millions on their latest acquisitions.
Back in 2005 Chelsea were involved in one of the most high profile disciplinary cases in Premier League history, when they were accused of tapping up Ashley Cole. When they were found guilty, it should have signalled the start of the big clean-up; after all, Chelsea are far from being the only culprits. However, there was no big clean up and not even a big punishment, with the club receiving a mere fine and suspended points deduction.
So come 2009, nobody should be surprised that we are again in the midst of transfer controversy. However on this occasion Chelsea (yes, them again) have been on the receiving end of a meaningful punishment, which providing it sticks, should act as a major deterrent.
Maybe Fifa are finally starting to see sense but can we do anything further? Perhaps impose some laws that prevent tapping up, so there is no need to punish it? Player’s chief Gordon Taylor believes that we should start by imposing a ban on the transfer of anybody under the age of 18.
“There’s been a general feeling that a ban on movement of players under the age of 18 would be better for the game,” Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Football is about competition. You can’t have all the best youngsters at the biggest, richest clubs.”
Whether this idea is the answer is up for debate but there is no doubt that football clubs have to start tidying up their act or face the consequences. As such we should all be hoping that Chelsea’s appeal is rejected and that other clubs are picked up on their own offences and are punished in the same manner.
If this is not the case and Chelsea again receive little more than a slap on the wrist, expect those all important five words to be broken up and discarded for a few more years.