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Is it time someone stopped Real Madrid and Barcelona’s underhand tactics?

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We hate diving in this country. It’s all those foreigners, allegedly, who have brought the evils of going to ground too easily to the Premier League. The same is true for tapping up; it’s a foreign thing that’s widely accepted abroad and we in England haven’t quite caught onto it yet. That doesn’t mean the rest of Europe has to apologise for it.

It was interesting that Pete Jenson of the Independent spoke about his conversation with Sandro Rosell and that the Barcelona president wasn’t too concerned with Manchester United’s persistent and very public pursuit of Cesc Fabregas. And what exactly is he supposed to say? There are absolutely no grounds for him to be angered or perturbed over the English club’s actions. The fact that he batted the question away as being just another part of the game suggests how far England are behind other nations.

And here’s the thing: this whole tapping up tactic is an underhand and mischievous act, but it’s pretty much accepted as the norm. What are UEFA supposed to do? What can they really do? Marca are supporters of Real Madrid, and Sport of Barcelona. Those papers are always going to write favourably of their clubs, and if UEFA steps in on that, it opens up a whole mess of a situation that is better left alone. Of course, the newspapers have direct links into each club and amplify the whispers that originate inside the walls of the Bernabeu and Camp Nou, but there is no way UEFA or any governing body can properly regulate the matter.

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We in England have rightly had enough of the media’s role in luring away the Premier League’s top talents; Cesc Fabregas, Gareth Bale, even Cristiano Ronaldo. So instead of complaining about an issue that will never be resolved, why not play a hand in these tactics ourselves? Where is the English press and its campaigns to keep hold of Arsenal or Tottenham’s best? Gareth Bale had his feathers ruffled at some stage this summer by the press in Madrid, but where is the counter offensive.

A point to be made: tapping up is slightly different to clubs directly and illegally talking to their transfer targets.

It’s a part of the game, as much as we hate it. Italy and Spain have newspapers solely for the purpose of football, with radio also supplementing the myriad of blogs already in existence. In England, we’re a bit short on the offensive. We don’t have papers who are directly in support of certain clubs – at least not to the extent of Rome, Barcelona and Madrid. But then whose fault is that? Should other nations hold their hands up and say sorry for us not being totally prepared for the nuts and bolts that make up the modern day transfer machine? We’re playing the victim in all this.

No, I don’t believe UEFA need to step in and take out that unethical mob – and that’s said tongue in cheek. Maybe clubs need to evolve or find ways to circumvent the tactics used in concert by foreign clubs and their media. Release clauses serve a purpose well enough. Napoli wouldn’t budge until they got what they wanted for Edinson Cavani. Take a firm stand on contracts and give back a little credence to what was agreed between the player and his current club.

But then how about the media in England spend a little less time driving out its own star players and focus more on the playing side of the game. Luis Suarez can write his own headlines for as long as he sees fit, but what’s been done is done. Report on it, fill the column inches and then move on. The same can be said for Arsenal and Fabregas; instead of driving out a big-name player because you’ve got a personal agenda against his club, write about him and the game in England favourably. How easy must the media in Spain find this whole game?

Should UEFA step in and take action against underhand tactics in the transfer market?

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Article title: Is it time someone stopped Real Madrid and Barcelona’s underhand tactics?

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