The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned Spanish clubs Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18. The two clubs were found to have violated several provisions concerning the international transfer and first registration of minor players as well as other relevant provisions with regard to the registration and participation of certain players in competitions. Both clubs are to serve a transfer ban that prevents them from registering any players at national and international level for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods for breaching articles 5, 9, 19 and 19bis as well as annexes 2 and 3 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (the “Regulations”).
The transfer ban, which does not affect the current registration period at all, given that it opened before the decisions were notified, applies to each club as a whole – with the exception of the women’s, futsal and beach soccer teams – and does not prevent the release of players. Additionally, Atletico and Real have been fined €822 000 and €329 000 respectively, while both clubs have been issued with a reprimand and given 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned. The decisions, which were notified to the parties concerned today, were made based on the specific elements of each case.
They follow investigations initially conducted by FIFA Transfer Matching System GmbH (FIFA TMS) and subsequently by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee as part of disciplinary proceedings. The investigations concerned minor players who were involved and participated in competitions with the clubs over various periods between 2007 and 2014 (Atletico Madrid) and between 2005 and 2014 (Real Madrid). FIFA works hard to protect the rights of players under the age of 18 – whether male or female, amateur or professional.
This is done through the enforcement of regulations prohibiting the international transfer of minors, or the first registration of minors in a country other than their own, except in specific circumstances (cf. art. 19 of the Regulations) that must be approved by the sub-committee appointed by the Players’ Status Committee. As such, the provisions relating to the protection of minors need to be strictly applied. This has been confirmed on various occasions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Opening up the door to exceptions beyond those carefully drafted and included in the Regulations would unavoidably lead to cases of circumvention of the rationale for these provisions. The web-based Transfer Matching System (TMS) provides a crucial platform to monitor the international transfer market, to ensure compliance with the rules, and to promote transparency and best practice.