Wednesday, May 09, 2007

European clubs told: Give to Asia instead of take

Top European clubs that tour the lucrative emerging markets of Asia need to do more to develop the game here instead of just turning up, taking the money and running. That's the message from FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Asked by AFP if clubs should be doing more to help Asian football, Blatter said: "Definitely. It's good if the big clubs come but they should give something and not just take away. They have already taken a lot of money through television rights in Asia. If they are coming personally it is good to expose the stars but make sure you hold activities around the football. Invite youngsters, help some charities or do humanitarian activities, conduct clinics with the players. This would be good instead of just coming in and training, sleeping, playing and leaving. It should be more, to give and take -- that's life."

While he welcomes European clubs touring Asia at the right time, Asian Football Confederation President Mohammed bin Hammam is adamant that they need to put more back into developing Asian football. “I think this is the mentality of the administrators when they organise these sorts of matches. Some will be leaving behind a legacy that benefits the youth and the football of the country,” he told AFP. “But some don’t care, they just want to collect the money and go. I think if they are a big club they are role models, and this gives them a responsibility to those who are less advanced. Part of the money (they earn) has to go to support youth programs in this region. Schools need sports equipment, the leagues are suffering, they are poor and can’t organise themselves. If you want to do a good thing there are a thousand ways to do it.”

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