If you haven’t read my previous article about FC Barcelona offering a place in their youth academy to a 7-year old boy, I suggest you do as this will go hand in hand with those issues. Not only is FIFA growing more and more concerned about national programs acquiring youngsters, but they are equally worried about teams poaching players. The current FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, was noted relating the issue to “child slavery.” The President of FIFA was involved in a meeting in Cardiff, England earlier in the week and stated that there are numerous clubs reviewing their actions and many could be accused of the same offense of Chelsea FC. Chelsea FC was accused of poaching and recently lost their rights in the next two transfer windows.
The punishment for this offense is very harsh considering the amount of teams that have used poaching methods in acquiring players. However, Chelsea FC has served as a warning rather than a lesson for the rest of the teams in the league. Fortunately, FIFA and UEFA are on the same page on the issue and are gaining a better understanding of the issue by holding conferences. UEFA President, Michel Platini, has also reviewed the matter and labeled it similar to “child trafficking.” Another thing the two Presidents agree on is that an alternative punishment needs to be contemplated. Currently, the preeminent thought is to deduct points from the clubs that abuse the poaching rules. A few reasons why I like this idea:
- Youth players generally don’t make an immediate impact on pro levels, so it is unfair to disallow a team the option of signing great players during transfer periods.
- A lot of teams are guilty. If Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid etc. all are accused, that will displease fans and make transfer periods extremely dull.
- If a team is accused of poaching youngsters, losing points in their league will have serious consequence anyway.
- Finally, it will save young players from getting substantial fines they cannot afford.