Transferring Minors in Football: Protection and Identity

Transferring Minors in Football: Protection and Identity

The subject of the transfers of minors in football is certainly a passionate one. Should minors be afforded the same right of free movement between clubs that adult footballers enjoy? Should the transfers of minors require extra regulation? If so, how?

From a general standpoint, we all know that football has decided not to allow free, unregulated international transfers of minors. Specific provisions have been adopted at the FIFA level in the Regulation on the Status and Transfers of Players (RSTP) and, as a matter of fact, football is a unique example of an industry working together to issue such a set of rules. But what about the specifics?

The concept behind regulations around minors is one of protection. Article 19 of the FIFA RSTP is not titled “transfer of minors”; it is titled “protection of minors”. The reason is quite simple; the players’ market in football is probably the most volatile market of workers in the world. Players are generally young, with no children or only very young children. Mastering a foreign language is not a job requirement, and at the top end, you can earn substantial amounts of money. Consequently, there are very few traditional barriers that prevent the logistical international transfer of players. 

Beyond logistics, the current regulation provided for in Article 19 of the RSTP states, as a general principle, that the international transferring of minors is prohibited, and any exceptions cannot negatively affect the minor. For example, transferring a...

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