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Six key lessons for clubs on the protection of minors from the FC Barcelona & Real Madrid appeals

Published 01 August 2017 | Authored by: John Shea

It is been several months since the high profile cases involving FC Barcelona and Real Madrid and FIFA’s protection of minors regulations were decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). However, the recent publication of the CAS awards has provided much welcomed detail regarding the nature of the breaches and clubs can learn key lessons from both cases in order to avoid similar sanctions in the future.

By way of background, FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee sanctioned FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in 2014[1] and 2016[2] respectively for breaches relating to the international transfer and first registration of minor players as well as other relevant provisions. Both clubs were sanctioned with heavy fines and transfer bans for two transfer windows. Following unsuccessful appeals to FIFA’s Appeal Committee, both clubs appealed to CAS. FC Barcelona’s appeal was dismissed on 30 December 2014[3] and Real Madrid’s appeal was partially upheld on 20 December 2016[4].

Both awards can be accessed here[5] (FC Barcelona) and here[6] (Real Madrid).   

This article reviews the decisions and reflects on six key lessons for clubs agents and players, namely:

  • The importance of respecting the regulations;
  • The risks of “organised football”;
  • Do not register or integrate the player at the club before obtaining FIFA subcommittee approval;
  • Ensure that players are registered with the national association; and
  • Registration is not sufficient to comply with reporting requirements under Article 19bis RSTP.

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About the Author

John Shea

John Shea

John is a solicitor at Shoosmiths LLP specialising in commercial litigation and sport law with a particular focus on regulatory and contentious issues such as contractual disputes, disciplinary proceedings and the registration and transfer of players.

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