As a parent there is nothing more important than protecting your child.Conversely, however, you also want the best for your child and to have them reach their potential and greatest success.
For the parents of athletes, this can be a difficult spectrum to traverse as protection and career advancement can be seen as two contradicting matters at times.
In the past this has been especially true in the world of football. Until recently, FIFA regulations were lax and upheld in such a way that allowed for the free transfer and alleged exploitation of minor athletes worldwide. As football clubs began to imprudently scout minor players in exceedingly reckless ways in the early part of the last decade, FIFA finally stepped in and made amendments to its regulations in regards to the international transfer of minor players.
Now, with the introduction of Article 19, transferring players between countries is a rather difficult task. However, this Article has been implemented in an effort to protect minor players from further exploitation and danger. As a parent, it is important to understand these regulations so as to protect your child while also ensuring they receive the best opportunities to advance their athletic careers.
There are five main tenants to Article 19. They are as follows:
- Most strikingly, the Article states the international player transfers may only occur if the player is over the age of 18.
- There are three exceptions to this rule:
- If the parents of the player move to a new country for reasons unrelated to football, the player may join a team in that country.
- If both the player and the proposed team are a part of the European Union, the player may apply for an International Transfer Certificate if the player is between the ages of 16-18. In this case, the following stipulations are applied to the joining team:
- The team must provide the player with a football education that is in accordance with the highest national standards.
- The team must guarantee and provide the player with access to an academic education.
- The team must make all necessary arrangements so as to provide the player with guardianship and mentorship. This includes providing adequate living standards.
- Finally, upon registering an international player, the team must provide the association and FIFA governance information and proof that it is complying with these standards. If the team is found to be in violation of these standards they will be subject to fines and other consequences.
- In order for this form of transfer to take place, the player must not live further than 50km from the national border and club of which the player wishes to register with. Furthermore, the player must not live more than 100km from the club’s headquarters.
- The article makes clear that these stipulations apply to any player who has not registered to a club in the past and is not a national of the country in which they wish to register.
- The article states that these rules will apply to all associations and must be enforced by all clubs
- Finally, disputes regarding this article will be brought before the Players’ Status Committee. This committee will also be responsible for enforcing sanctions in regards to any violations of the article.
With these strict and sweeping regulations firmly in place, the prospects of an international transfer for minors are now a rarely granted opportunity. However, these regulations are in place to protect the best interests of minor athletes. With competition for international transfers now at a standstill, the course of action may be to develop your child’s talent at home leaving them to make a safe and informed decision on their own behalf regarding international play once they reach the appropriate age as determined by FIFA.