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Volume 6 No. 248
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Arsène Wenger Wants Youth Players Paid Same Amount Until The Age Of 17

Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger called for "all youth players to be paid the same amount until the age of 17 to ensure that they have the hunger to make it to the top," according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. Wenger claimed that rich clubs are "making the financial rewards for youth footballers so high that they are removing the desire for success." Wenger was speaking in a documentary, "No Hunger in Paradise," which will be screened by BT Sport on Jan. 7. Michael Calvin, the documentary’s presenter, describes a "thriving black economy" in English youth football, including illicit deals where a 13-year-old was offered a guaranteed professional contract of £45,000 ($59,885) a week and a nine-year-old paid £24,000 ($31,939) per year. Wenger: "The financial factor is a huge influence on where a player goes and that's where the system is very poor." Liverpool U18 Manager Steven Gerrard agreed that "too much money can be the downfall of young players" but said that it will "be difficult to change the system now" (LONDON TIMES, 12/12).