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UEFA plans teenage transfer crackdown – report

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Jul 2008

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Europe's top football clubs will be barred from snapping up the game's most talented teenagers if plans outlined in a leaked UEFA document go ahead, it was reported on Sunday.

UEFA boss Michel Platini has handed over a confidential 10-page document to European Union ministers, urging Brussels to support the plan, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper claimed.

The measures include a ban on under-18 transfers, a quota for foreign players as well as limiting live TV broadcasts in an attempt to boost attendances.

The newspaper added the document had been drawn up with input from European federations representing football, rugby union, handball, basketball, ice hockey and volleyball.

Under the new proposals, recent transfers such as that of Aaron Ramsey, 17, to Arsenal and 16-year-old John Bostock to Spurs would be outlawed.

The far-reaching document was supported by Bayern Munich club president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, head of the newly formed European Club Association, said the Sunday Telegraph, singling out the case of Cesc Fabregas, who moved to Arsenal from Barcelona in 2003 aged only 16 for a nominal fee.

“We have to protect these players and this is a fruitful way to avoid players like Fabregas moving for nothing to England,” the newspaper quoted Rummenigge as saying.

“We at Bayern had the best player at the last under-17 world championship, Toni Kroos, and there were 20-odd scouts from England sitting there. It is not good and something must be done.”

Although UEFA are also looking to crack down on financial mismanagement, the priority is protecting the game's talented teenagers.

“They (young players) are not merely businesses. Concrete proposals must be developed (to prevent) the trafficking or exploitation of young players,” the document said.

“Otherwise the risk is that more and more young players move abroad too early in their life.”

The controversy echos FIFA boss Sepp Blatter's comments last week about the on-going tussle between Manchester United and Real Madrid over Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I think in football there's too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere,” said Blatter.

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