Green: Hughes choice a gamble

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has denied accusations
that the Serie A club are “blackmailing” midfielder Wesley
Sneijder.

The Nerazzurri had stated that the Holland international would
not play again until he agreed to extend his contract, which
currently runs until 2015, while simultaneously taking a pay
cut.

Head coach Andrea Stramaccioni subsequently insisted that
Sneijder’s absence from first-team action is purely a tactical
choice.

But FIFPro, the worldwide trade union for professional
footballers, issued a statement requesting dialogue with FIFA, UEFA
and the European Commission to share its concerns over what it
called ‘blackmail behaviour of clubs’.

Moratti told inter.it: “As far as the club is concerned, we are
completely open to the player, there is no sort of blackmail.

“If a contract is valid, it’s certainly valid to ask a person if
it can be improved in some way. That doesn’t change the fact that
for the time being he’s not playing for technical reasons.

“Obviously no one would want to throw away someone of his value.
The club is calm, we haven’t forced anyone to do anything. His
contract is valid, no one is forcing him, Sneijder is free.”

The former Real Madrid playmaker has not featured since
September and Moratti would not be drawn on whether he would return
against Palermo this weekend.

“That’s entirely down to the coach, if he thinks he’s physically
and psychologically up to playing,” he added.

The FIFPro statement read: “FIFPro signals a growing number of
players who are put under pressure to prolong their contract. This
is no new phenomenon.

“A club forces a player with a contract nearing expiry to sign a
new contract. If the player refuses, the club puts him on the
reserve bench or in the grandstand.

“This professional footballer doesn’t get a chance to play any
more. Only when he has signed a new contract he can resume
playing.”

Hughes, 48, who replaced Neale Cooper at Victoria Park earlier
this month, lost his first two games in charge of League One’s
bottom club, but stopped a run of five straight defeats with a draw
at Walsall last weekend.

“There have been no promises from day one,” Green said. “We’ve
always been realistic. He’s not said ‘I will keep you up’. Nobody
can say that in football, if they could they would be magicians and
manager at Man United.

“But there’s always a gamble, don’t get me wrong, bringing him
to his first job in England. But we feel that the odds are stacked
in our favour with choosing John and taking the gamble we’ve
made.”

Hughes’ side, recently thrashed 6-1 at Chesterfield in the FA
Cup, are without a fixture this weekend as the competition stages
the second round proper.