Green: Hughes choice a gamble

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has denied accusations

that the Serie A club are “blackmailing” midfielder Wesley


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


Head coach Andrea Stramaccioni subsequently insisted that

Sneijder’s absence from first-team action is purely a tactical


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 “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


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


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.