Greedy Autograph Dealers Not Just an American Problem

The Yankees of soccer have banned team members from signing autographs at the team’s training facility.

England’s Manchester United soccer franchise has banned its players from signing autographs for fans at the team’s training complex.

The decision was communicated to fans in the program distributed in last week’s 2-1 win over Blackburn.

While many of the names on the Premier League team’s roster may be unfamiliar to North American sports fans, they are superstars in much of the rest of the world and a thriving memorabilia market in Europe has made the players’ autographs hot commodities.

"I offer apologies to fans who come to the Carrington training ground looking for autographs, because we have had to ask players not to stop and sign your books," United manager Alex Ferguson wrote. "The problem is that we have had too many opportunists selling on signed merchandise. They are not fans at all, and we have taken this action in order to stop the practice.

"We hope that you understand our decision."

Five years ago, United imposed a similar ban, which was primarily aimed at sports memorabilia dealers.

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