FIFA and CAS have punished FC Barcelona for trading children. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The trade of minors is standard practice in European football – and has been for years.
The search for football talent is rife and agents are on a constant chase to be the first to spot the next Neymar. Although FIFA regulations only allow international transfers of players over the age of 18, exeptions exist allowing football clubs to buy talent down to the age of 10.
In a series of articles, Play the Game looks into the trade of under-age players.
On 2 April the ground shook under one of the world’s most powerful football clubs, FC Barcelona, and the world’s most well-known talent factory, La Masia. This was the day the international football federation, FIFA, announced that it had found the Spanish club to be in breach of Article 19 of ‘The regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players’ – in no less than ten cases.