By Tony Attwood, currently 35 miles from North Korea. (A first for Untold!)
You may recall that over the years Untold has regularly reported on issues relating to the transfer of youngsters between clubs and the issues surrounding child exploitation. We also did a lot to cover the technicalities and legalities of the FFP regulations before they became irrelevant through a breakdown in the whole system and a sudden unwillingness of Uefa to tackle the major rule-breakers.
The articles don’t get much in the way of readership – some would argue that is due to my turgid writing style, others might say because there isn’t much of interest there, and of course many have argued that I get all my facts wrong.
And maybe I am barking up the wrong palm tree but given that most blogs and newspapers are not following the story at all, I am back with it once again.
But to reiterate: it was Untold that persisted with the view that Manchester City had broken FFP rules and that the FFP rules were not in breach of European Union regulations on restraint of trade. And although part of the argument was easy because the EU clearly had ruled that the FFP rules were acceptable due to the singular nature of competition within sport, the other part – how Fifa would interpret the situation, was something we got right. Guillem Balagué ploughed the same furrow as we did which of course gave me the confidence to keep going when under unremitting onslaughts.
But now we have the latest round following interviews and articles in Jyllands-Posten in Denmark, by two former players at Manchester City, George Davies and Dominic Oduro.
They both allege that they played for the club while under the age of 18, which would be a clear breach of Fifa rules on child trafficking. And indeed these are obviously further allegations against a club that is already using a fair amount of its massive world wide legal resources to fight Fifa and the Court of Arbitration in Sport.
As I have oft mentioned, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atlético Madrid have all been given transfer bans, but Fifa have now proposed that any future bans should be much bigger since the clubs were so easily able to get around those imposed thus far.
Chelsea are also reported to be under investigation, and the Premier League handed down modest penalties to Liverpool and Manchester City over their academy activities. Of course if there are any more bans there will be more appeals to the CAS. CAS has so far held up all the appeals but the long delays in CAS hearings that we are now seeing allow the clubs to spend, spend, spend and so overcome the transfer bans. Hence Fifa is looking at a way of imposing bans that work and are a deterrent.
The question also arises whether the tapping up case of Manchester City vis a vis two schoolboys is one that can be taken into account when considering other cases. When an individual is hauled before a court, and found guilty, all his/her crimes at all levels heard in all courts are taken into account when sentence is passed. Bringing that into football would certainly change the way punishments are handed down.
We also know that Manchester City re-signed one of the boys they were found guilty of trafficking, which again brings the current process into disrepute.
Meanwhile Chelsea are being investigated over the arrangements of their dealings with Bertrand Traoré and Domingos Quina. We await developments on what are now numerous fronts. Maybe Fifa and CAS are about to get their acts together properly. That would be a first, but in this business is seems that if they don’t, the clubs do just walk all over Fifa, and do whatever they like, whenever they like.
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- The hierarchy of debating the Arsenal; why some arguments work and others don’t.
- Now that us spectators are the product, we actually do have some power.
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