Saturday, April 5, 2014

Full 90: Barca Slapped with 14-month Transfer Ban

Football’s golden-child was slapped with a 14-month ban for the illegal signing of international minors. What came as a shock to many Barcelona fans, the Catalonian-club should have seen this coming. After all, it was a year ago that FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, publicly warned Barcelona of amending its unethical recruitment tactics. Apparently Barca didn’t think FIFA would act on its words.


A sanction such as the one against Barcelona is fairly rare, especially when it concerns the world’s most prestigious club. FIFA’s ban is a testament to the seriousness of the situation: improper maneuvering of youth athletes. However, as elite as Barca are, they have succumbed to unethical tactics to gain a competitive advantage over their rival clubs. Football has turned into an arms race of sorts for first rights to secure insane youth-talent. Barca has been charged with breaching Article 19 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players with respect to 10 minors. Six of the ten players involved in the scheme by Barcelona are between 14 and 16 years of age and hailing from countries such as Cameroon, Korea, and Nigeria. There is a three-part test that permits FIFA to authorize a transfer ban for recruitment of youth players.

In order for FIFA to be allowed to sanction a club one of the following three situations must have been violated. The first situation is that the player’s parents have moved to a country for their own, non-football reasons; the move takes place within the European Union if a player is 16 to 18 years old; or the player’s home is less than 50 kilometers from the national border that has been crossed. In this instance, Barcelona has been charged with violating all three of these provisions.


A rude awakening for Barca, this provides the rest of the football world caution that future actions such as those committed by Barca, will not be tolerated. Aside from the occasional match-fixing, football is very fortunate that it has remained a fairly pure sport. Unlike baseball or bike racing, football is not riddled with PEDs. Football does not need to be tainted by having clubs illegally sign minors.


While this is not the first time that a major club has illegally recruited and imported non-domestic minors it by far the most scandalous. In addition to being banned for the next two transfer windows, Barca has been fined £306,000. Critics of Barca’s ban fear that clubs will begin to look inwards to domestic talent, wanting to avoid the urge of illegally acquiring international minors. If recruitment takes on this conservative outlook, many would argue that world-class talent would become overlooked. Such an example is Barcelona’s signing of a young Argentinean named Lionel Messi, at 13-years old, in 1999.

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Matt Puzio is a pre-junior in Drexel’s Sport Management program. From West Windsor, NJ, Matt is an active member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Matt has assisted Drexel professor, Dr. Ellen Staurowsky, in her Title IX research which resulted in a publication and a chance to speak at the 2013 NCAA Scholarly Colloquium. Matt has completed his first Co-op with Trenton Thunder.  Follow Matt on Twitter @mattypuz.

1 comment:

  1. It'll be interesting to see if Barca continue to have success within La Liga and the Champions League. They have enough talent to go roughly 2 years without needing any new transfers. With an aging midfield...time will tell.

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