The protection of minors is of major importance for FIFA

Child labour in international football? It’s of major importance for FIFA – or is it? Sport Executive provides you with FIFA’s response to the buying and selling of minors in FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and so many others major European clubs.

The protection of minors is of major importance for FIFA
Photo: All Over Press

Sport Executive has in “Sport Executive – International, Number 3, September 2015” described how the big European clubs are buying minors in breach of “FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players”. As we have done for years! Therefore, we have sent a number of questions to FIFA (see box,ed.). As we have done for years!


It’s all about child labour in the big European clubs – in FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and a lot of others ‘big players’ in international football.
FIFA now have the answers to Sport Executive’s questions. And here it come – from a FIFA spokesperson (see Sport Executive’s questions in the box below):
“We are not in a position to comment on any proceedings that are ongoing.”
“Speaking generally, please note that the timeframe for each disciplinary case can vary depending on the specific legal and factual elements, the cooperation of the parties involved and administrative processes of each case. It is essential that due process is followed and that the rights of all parties are respected. In particular, we refer you to article 88 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code  – “Confidentiality”.”


“The protection of minors is of major importance for FIFA. Young footballers are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation when they are in a foreign country without the appropriate controls. For FIFA, protecting the appropriate and stable development of a minor as a whole should prevail over purely sporting interests. The seriousness with which FIFA takes the matter is clearly stated in this article.”
“The basis of the current regulations regarding the protection of minors goes back to an agreement signed in 2001 between FIFA, UEFA and the European Commission, which led to the amendment of the “FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players”. It was then further developed and strengthened over the years, particularly in 2005 and 2009. All the involved authorities and members of the football community agreed that the measures to be established in order to achieve the objective sought, i.e. an effective protection of young footballers, needed to be strong and would have to be implemented in a very consistent and strict manner.”
“Art. 19 of the “Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players” prohibits, as a general rule, the international transfer of players below the age of 18 (cf. art. 19 par. 1). However, in order to provide for some flexibility to both clubs and players, but always within the scope of protection of minor players from abuse and mistreatment, par. 2 of the said article establishes three exceptions, which, in case the relevant conditions are fulfilled, allow the international transfer of a player before the age of 18.”


“Although in an individual case FIFA’s approach may appear harsh, it is only by enforcing the aforementioned rules in a very consistent and strict manner that the abuses of the past can be avoided. There is no other realistic measure than a ban with strict enforcement and limited exceptions that can ensure the protection being sought. This has also been confirmed on various occasions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Opening up the door to exceptions beyond those carefully drafted and included in the present text would unavoidably lead to cases of circumvention of the rationale for these provisions.”
“Since transfer activities of clubs are constantly evolving, the situation is being carefully monitored in order for FIFA to be able to take the appropriate measures, if need be. For instance, the FIFA Executive Committee recently decides to reduce the age limit for which an international transfer certificate (ITC) is required from the age of 12 to the age of 10 in order to strengthen the protection of minors and due to the increased number of international transfers of players younger than 12.”


“We are convinced that all of these measures have a positive impact on the situation of minor players.”
“Should you wish to quote someone please refer to a FIFA spokesperson.”
Sport Executive is still waiting for some answers…



In August 2015 FIFA banned Matias Lacava, Venezuela, and Fode Fofana, Netherlands, from playing for FC Barcelona! How come FIFA had to wait until August 2015 to register those 2 players – playing in breach of ‘FIFA’s Rules on Minors’?

Is it now certain that FC Barcelona is not fielding any players playing in breach of ‘FIFA’s Rules on Minors’?

According to FC Barcelona’s website the club tells: “FC Barcelona wishes to announce that as a preventative measure, it shall not be renewing the licences of some of the players in the club’s academy. This is to avoid any interpretation that there has been any breach of FIFA regulations. FC Barcelona, in coordination with FIFA, is immersed in a process of legalising the situation of the players connected with the enquiry that led to the sanction.” Can you tell me what this coordination between FIFA and FC Barcelona is about – in real terms?

Can you tell me how many players are now banned in FC Barcelona?

In January FIFA launched an inquiry in some other Spanish clubs in breach of ‘FIFA’s Rules on Minors’. Now it is September – how is this inquiry moving forward – and when are FIFA going to make a decision in this matter?

It’s well known by all in international football that Real Madrid is buying players in breach of ‘FIFA’s Rules on Minors’ and have been doing it for years. Why aren’t FIFA sanctioning Real Madrid – after 8 months of inquiry?