Bayern Munich CEO accuses Premier League clubs of 'kidnapping' youth
Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says English clubs' efforts to sign young players verge on "kidknapping."
Bayern are in the process of building a new youth academy, but Rummenigge wrote in his latest editorial in the club's magazine: "We don't want to bring some 10- or 11-year-old to Munich like the English do.
"You could almost consider it kidnapping and I would have moral reservations about that. I believe 14 is a good age for a youngster to come to Bayern."
The new academy is due to be completed next summer on Ingolstadter Strasse in Munich, a short distance away from their Allianz Arena stadium.
Rummenigge, though, warned it will be the "longest and hardest five kilometres in Munich" and added: "It's a long, steep, rocky road to the Allianz Arena -- but it's worth it in the end."
Current Bayern captain Philipp Lahm, the club's record Champions League goal scorer Thomas Muller and former midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger all come from Bavaria and became elite players at Munich.
Rummenigge promised a more aggressive youth scouting policy to ensure their "future stars come from Rosenheim [in Bavaria] rather than Rio," adding: "Our priority will certainly be Germany and Bavaria."
Rummenigge also stressed the emphasis should be on "quality rather than quantity" in the Bavarians' quest to dominate Europe.
"We want to focus on the absolute elite rather than a broader group," he wrote. "Imagine this: Chelsea currently have 41 promising players out on loan, including Andreas Christensen at Borussia Monchengladbach.
"I know that Manchester City can train up to 250 players at their facility, together with their parents. It's virtually like a real-life village.
"But we want to be more cautious. We don't want a football factory."
FIFA has strict rules on the international transfer of minors because some European clubs in the past have stockpiled young overseas talent, only to release those players a long way from home when they fail to make the grade.
For example, clubs can only sign under-18s from abroad if the player's parents have moved to the area in which the club is based for reasons not related to the transfer. Players over 16 are also allowed to move between clubs in the European Union or European Economic Area, or if the player lives less than 100 kilometres from the foreign club he or she is moving to.
FIFA has handed one-year transfer bans to Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid for breaking its rules on youth transfers, while Barcelona have already served a transfer ban for a similar breach.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.