English giants Chelsea and Manchester City are under investigation by world football’s ruling body, FIFA, over their recruitment of young players under the age of 18.
Chelsea are being investigated by FIFA for the third time, and one of the previous investigations culminated in a two-year transfer in 2009. On the other hand, Manchester City were fined £300,000 and banned from signing academy players for two years in May by the Premier League.
FIFA has strict rules in place when it comes to the signing of young players under the age of 18 in a bid to prevent trafficking and exploitation.
On the new development, Chelsea are adamant that they “comply with all Fifa statutes and regulations when recruiting players” while Manchester City claim they are not aware of any investigation.
Chelsea were banned from transfers for two years in 2009 after they were found guilty of prompting Gael Kukuta to break his contract with French side Lens before the ban was lifted on appeal. Seven years later, they were investigated for the 2014 signing of Burkina Faso international forward Bertrand Traore from Association Jeunes Espoirs De Bobo-Dioulasso.
Manchester City were punished by the Premier League after they were found guilty of approaching the family of two young players who were on the books of other clubs.
According to FIFA rules, the transfer of under-18 players to different countries is prohibited unless they meet strict criteria.
Under-18 players can only be transferred abroad if:
- The player’s parents move to the country in which the new club is located for non-footballing reasons.
- Both clubs are in the European Union or European Economic Area and the player is aged between 16 and 18. Even then, the buying club must meet more criteria relating to education, training, living conditions and support.
- They live within 100km of the club.