City facing ban for youth signings

LONDON • Manchester City could face a one-year transfer ban from Fifa over the signing of eight under-18 foreign players, according to documents obtained by Football Leaks.

The English champions are the second Premier League club after Chelsea to face allegations of paying six-figure sums to young players' families.

According to Danish newspaper Politiken, Fifa investigators are calling for City to be banned from signing players for two transfer windows.

This comes after revelations that City allegedly paid the family of Belgium defender Mathias Bossaerts £190,000 (S$334,449).

Documents in the hands of the European Investigative Collaborations, a group of European media outlets, also revealed that City were willing to pay £10,000 in relocation costs to the family of a boy still playing under-eight football.

The notes against a player understood to be Bossaerts said that City paid £100,000 to the family and a further £30,000 a year for three years plus an annual £27,000 for accommodation costs.

Bossaerts' salary was agreed at £5,980 for his first season as a 16-year-old youth player, rising to £90,000, £100,000 and £110,000 over the next three years.

He spent four years at City before leaving in 2016 and is now at the Dutch side Nijmegen.

Fifa's rules prohibit international transfers of players aged 18 or under unless their parents have emigrated for reasons unconnected to football.

Chelsea are also facing a two-year transfer ban over the signing of 14 foreign youth players and are alleged to have paid the father of Danish defender Andreas Christensen £656,000 over four years.

A statement from the Premier League said: "It would be inappropriate for the Premier League to comment on part-information regarding specific clubs or players.

"Should we receive any substantiated material that suggests our rules may have been breached, we will of course investigate and have a track record of doing so."

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 18, 2018, with the headline 'City facing ban for youth signings'. Print Edition | Subscribe