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FIFA new rule aims to harm Arsenal

From 1 January 2009 Fifa – the organisation described by a judge in a legal case over sponsorship as having “lied and lied and lied again” in its evidence – is to try and stop the transfer of teenage players across national boundaries.

In future a committee, selected by the discredited organisation, will examine the transfer and give its official verdict.

At present all clubs are able to make such transfers providing they take into account the situation on the families, and provide work etc locally for those who move with the young player to provide family continuity.

While there is of course every reason for football to try and get rid of the child trafficking agencies which exist in Africa and Asia, and which make insane promises to young players and their families, before whisking the boys off to Europe, the approach that they are now adopting will dramatically affect clubs such as Arsenal that always treat their young players well.

Arsenal of course have been involved in bringing many players to London who have the ability to flourish and develop in a way that they were not able to achieve elsewhere. Transfers across the European Union will be seriously compromised but could easily be challenged by any 16 year old or any club, as an infringement of freedom of work and movement which is guaranteed to all citizens of the EU. (FIFA regularly try and pass regulations which are contrary to EU law, and then back down again. The obvious example is the attempt to have a certain number of players from a specific country in each team).

But being FIFA they clearly won’t stop there – for their motto is “why stop at one initiative when you can make up another on the spot.” They also plan a rule to be introduced later in the year in which all 16-year-olds will have to sign five year contracts. 17 year olds will have to sign four year contracts, and so on.

Given the way agents and journalists have colluded in recent years to whip up stories about players leaving the club, in order to make a transfer impossible to resist, this can only further harm football.

One further amusing point. Because the FIFA notion of a national boundary is linked to its footballing boundary, the transfer of Ramsey from Cardiff to Arsenal would have come under this new rule – since Wales to England is a transfer across a national boundary in FIFA terms.

2 comments to FIFA new rule aims to harm Arsenal

  • realis

    Forget the Premiership title, it’s beyond us. We’ve lost far too many games and are too inconsistent to mount a challenge.

    The Champions League however is a totally different prospect and it’s a trophy that I really believe Arsenal can win.

    Our possession football suits the Champions League. It’s a far slower pace than the English Premiership and there is no team better in Europe than Arsenal at keeping the ball.

    You need the luck of the draw and people will say if Arsenal draw an English team, then we will struggle because they know how to play against us. I beg to differ.

    If a side resorts to the usual bully boy tactics employed by Premiership teams then the European referees will stamp down on it. The harsh tackles will not be allowed.

    Liverpool and Chelsea have knocked us out in the past but we outplayed them both in those ties. I’d say a great deal of luck enabled them to overcome us. Surely that luck would change?

    Successful sides are built on the foundations of a solid defence. The defence made up of Gallas, Djourou, Clichy and Sagna is more than solid enough to keep clean sheets.

    We didn’t keep a clean sheet against the “almighty” Chelsea but the goal we conceded was an own-goal and could have been prevented had Almunia not suffered a rush of blood to the head.

    A Chelsea side at home, had one shot on target against us in 90 minutes. That alone proves to me the back-four of those mentioned above are more than capable of shutting out Europe’s elite.

    Arsenal always have goals in them. We can score against anyone, especially those crucial away goals.

    If we can keep it tight in the home games then we can beat anyone over two legs. Teams will not want to face us.

    I see so many parallels between this season and the 2005/06 season when we reached the Champions League final. The inconsistency in the league, the rumour’s of infighting. It’s uncanny. I don’t however see us struggling for fourth place this season. We will get there comfortably.

    People are speaking of another trophyless campaign for Arsenal. I don’t agree. I genuinely believe the Champions League will be ours in May.

  • Josh

    This new ruling seems to imply that the major clubs, to get around the red tape, will be targetting younger players wouldn’t they? I remember people joking back when Walcott were signed that Wenger would start 13 year olds anyday now. Well, with this new rule in place, that may not necessarily be untrue. However, of course, there is the still the obstacle of youth players not being able to sign contracts, etc. but I feel some club will find away around that. I’ve got some quid on Wenger… lol