Capello: Why stealing children is wrong
By Rob Casey
Thursday 29 Dec 2011 19:26:00
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For some politically correct reason, Fabio Capello is taking umbrage with the wealthy stealing foreign children, an act that UEFA have told him they will take action against “in the future”, probably.

Speaking at a football conference in Dubai, one of the few types of conference that I would like to go to in my holidays, the Italian England manager told delegates that globalisation in football ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when it comes to providing life-changing opportunities to young people.


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“A line needs to be drawn,” he said, speaking metaphorically I gather. “Clubs are talent-scouting all over the world and are stealing young players. FIFA should pass new rules. I've spoken to Platini and in the future clubs will be forbidden to steal players when they are very young.”

As UEFA President, Michel Platini is apparently keen to prevent clubs like Arsenal poaching kids like the 16-year-old Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, and developing him into becoming one of the world’s great midfielders, only to sell him back to his ‘parent’ club many years later for £24.3m.

“These clubs are offering players and their families a lot of financial support. If the family is poor and it will contribute to the family, they will be happy to move abroad.”

Well, I don’t know if Fabregas’ family were poor, but Barcelona certainly have not been for as long as I’ve been paying attention.

It seems the issue is with rich clubs “stealing” young talent from clubs that cannot provide an attractive option for the future star to stay with them, thus widening the gap between rich and poor, and also preventing such players from developing first-team football experience and maturing as footballers, thus earning a move to a bigger club and a fairer transfer fee for the club that gave them the opportunities in the first place.

FIFA’s Rule 19 does ban international transfers for players under 18, which rather handily allows such youngsters to move abroad if their parents choose to. Similar loopholes exist for under-16s, allowing the wealthier clubs’ lawyers to find more creative ways of poaching children.

With transfer fees spiralling at a rate even the more odious of bankers can only stand back and admire, the larger football corporations (formerly known as ‘clubs’) are driven more and more to sending strange men into parks abroad to go and stare at the children. And if the kids are lucky then they’ll be offered not just a bag of sweets, but a six figure annual salary, a house, car and a team of adults who will monitor their body closely over the later pubescent years for signs of potential on the international market.

If only Maddie McCann had football skills. 


For more articles by Rob Casey, visit his blog and follow him on Twitter @playinthehole

You can also follow England Fansonline on Twitter @1HellOfABeating 




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