The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Real are blood suckers’

Kuala Lumpur: Asia’s football chief, Peter Velappan described Real Madrid on Wednesday as “bloodsuckers” and “mercenaries”, accusing them of demanding three times more than other clubs in appearance fees for their upcoming Asian tour.

AFC secretary general Velappan said he was disgusted with the Spanish giants and had ordered his 45 national associations to never offer such big sums of money to attract touring teams.

“We have been bringing teams from all over the world to Asia for the past 20 to 25 years, never have I come across a team claiming such exorbitant fees,” Velappan said, two days before Real were due to begin their tour in China.

“We welcome teams to come here and show off their footballers but not for the price they are asking. This is totally unacceptable. It’s mercenary.” Velappan said Real had demanded close to $3 million in appearance fees to play in various Asian cities, plus five-star accommodation for 40 people, and other costs.

“This is unheard of in the history of visiting teams,” he said, adding their demands were triple those of other big-name clubs that had toured Asia recently. “While we respect the players, they should never suck the blood out of the people who support them.”

Velappan said there appeared to be a wrong perception that Asia’s fanatical football fans were wealthy. “The average football fan is not a rich fella. He coughs out game after game his savings for him and his family,” he said. “The teams must appreciate that. They can’t possibly exploit the generosity of the fans or else they will lose them.”

Velappan was commenting a day after Malaysian officials confirmed a match between Real and the national team scheduled for August 10 had been cancelled because of the cost factor.

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