UEFA president Michel Platini called for a sweeping reform of the transfer system on Friday, describing the current system to a form of robbery and saying the transfer window was too long.

Platini said there were too many people vying to take a slice of commission from players’ transfers and also said players were to blame for not respecting contracts.

His comments came amid the ongoing saga of Gareth Bale’s possible move from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid for 100 million euros (85.31 million pounds) and at the end of a European transfer window which critics say has dragged on for too long.

“I think transfers are robbery,” the former France captain told a media conference.

“Today, the player is more a product than a player and that irks me because there is a whole lot of people trying to make this player make money in order to earn commissions, we should think about that and try to find something more healthy.

“Players are not free and they don’t even belong to clubs, they belong to financial holdings, companies or people.”

“I don’t think it is right. I believe this is important and this is new in the world of football,” he added. “We are looking into that, working on it, I agree maybe this window is too big, too long.”

Platini said that UEFA were looking at a possible reform of the transfer system and were aware of that FIFPro, the world player’s union, wanted sweeping reforms.

Platini pointed out that in his own playing days, players had gone on strike for the right to leave their clubs at the end of their contract.

But nowadays, he said players failed to respect their contracts, often refusing to play or train to try and force a move elsewhere.

“I belong to the generation who went on strike so players could leave at the end of the contract,” he added.

“Players went on strike to be free…. now I see they sign contracts, they don’t play because they want to leave again… there is something unhealthy about that.

“Robbery may be too tough a word, but when you sign a contract you should respect it and that’s what I wanted to say… We need a re-think of the whole transfer system.”

He added that inflated transfer fees had always been a source of debate.

“We have been asking ourselves the same question for 30 years as to the morality of the money involved in transfers,” he said.

“People asked these questions when Diego Maradona was transferred for 30 million, or Zinedine Zidane for 60 million.”

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