Arsenal sign Mohamed Elneny while Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid are banned from buying players
By Tony Attwood
Exactly as Untold has been reporting for nearly a year, two more Spanish clubs have been banned from signing players in the next two transfer windows.
This follows on from the year long ban which serial child traffickers Barcelona were given, and relates to the bringing of children from outside the EU to the club. This is only allowable under very special circumstances which Barcelona tried to get around by offering spurious jobs to a parent if the child was signed.
Worse, they were reported for giving trials to non-EU citizens who were introduced by “agents” who would often simply abandon the children if they did not turn out to be good enough to get a place in the academy of Barcelona.
Barcelona appealed against the ban to Fifa and then to the Court of Arbitration in Sport, but these appeals were quickly rejected, since they consisted of little more than the statement that La Masia – their academy – was world famous. A bit like a rock star saying to the judge, “Do you know who I am?”
Interestingly, many in the media failed to appreciate that the ban was real, and kept on tipping Barcelona to sign this or that player all the way through their banned period. What they also failed to realise was that Barcelona would do a lot of business in the final window before the ban, and then not sell anyone, as they were unable to buy anyone. So a lot of recent tips for buying and selling might come unstuck. Also prices will go up with the two clubs knowing that if they don’t buy now, they won’t be able to buy at all.
Barcelona continued to deny any wrong doing, and started to place stories in any national newspapers that would run them which purported to be an interview with the President of the club. These again denied all wrong doing, and talked vaguely about how the ban was against EU rules and there would undoubtedly be a court case to resolve it. This was a total smokescreen since the punishment was for a clear breach of Fifa rules.
In England the Independent published one of these articles, which contained numerous inaccuracies, including totally misleading statements about the level of tax that Barcelona pays.
For the Madrid clubs the ban will come into effect for the 2016 summer and 2017 January transfer windows. Atlético have also been fined 900,000 Swiss francs (£622,000) and Real Mad 360,000 Swiss francs (£249,000), although such sums are fairly irrelevant to the clubs. The investigations concerned minors who were involved and participated in competitions with the clubs over various periods between 2007 and 2014 (Atlético de Madrid) and between 2005 and 2014 (Real Madrid).
He has played as the first receiver of the ball from the defence, playing simple passes to the playmaker, and is further described as “the ultimate team player, a manager’s dream because of his work-rate and lack of ego, and he has grown, particularly this season, in which he has been Basel’s best player.”
It is reported that he observes Ramadam strictly and that could mean a disruption to the exact food regimes that Arsenal require players to have. However (and I wonder if Mr Wenger was aware of this) Ramadam in 2016 starts on 6 June and ends on 5 July, so it won’t disrupt his training or playing. In 2017 it will probably start somewhere around 27 May, which is causing some debate relating to exam schedules in English schools, but will not affect football.
(Having lived in Algeria for a year I do appreciate the deep significance and importance of Ramadam and am not trying to make light of it, merely to reflect on how it might affect the strict training regime of a footballer at the highest level).
Anniversaries from drugs to Walsall
- 14 January 1925: The Arsenal drugs scandal in which manager Knighton claimed he offered drugs to the players to improve their performance. The story only emerged 20 years later, in a sunday newspaper and then in his autobiography. Since many of the other claims in his articles and subsequent book have been found to be factually untrue, there must be serious doubts about this story which has no supporting evidence.
- 14 January 1933: The Walsall Experiment, in which Arsenal as last year’s cup finalists were knocked out in Chapman’s last ever FA Cup match. For subsequent impact see also here. Chapman rapidly transferred several players who were part of the game.