Everton blast South Africa plan
Everton have hit out at South Africa's plan to stop players from representing their clubs for two years.
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 19/03/08 9:57am
Everton have hit out at a proposal from South Africa's sports minister that could stop the country's best players from representing their clubs for two years ahead of the 2010 World Cup.
Makhenkesi Stofile believes South Africa's top 50 players should be contracted to the government so they can prepare fully for the tournament.
If the plan is implemented Everton would be likely to lose midfielder Steven Pienaar, but Stofile maintains that South African football must focus solely on 2010.
"We'll contract the players and tell the coach 'here, work with them'," said Stofile.
"They won't play for their clubs for two years and will be preparing only for the World Cup soccer tournament.
"We have to prevent them from embarrassing us."
Everton chief executive Keith Wyness does not feel the plan is at all practical and has criticised the South African authorities.
"While we sympathise with the sentiment behind the idea, it is entirely unworkable and shows a complete lack of understanding for how the football world works," Wyness said in the Daily Express.