Real Madrid hit out at 'absolutely false' reports of FIFA transfer rule break
Real Madrid have denied newspaper reports that they have broken FIFA's youth transfer rules by being involved in commercial projects to develop a large number of young Chinese footballers in Spain.
On Wednesday, AS ran a story claiming that Madrid had partnered with a private company [Soxna] in a deal which brought 25 Chinese youngsters under the age of 14 to live and develop as footballers in Spain.
The reports claimed the deal also involved Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande, and was worth over €13 million to Soxna, who currently work with both Madrid and Evergrande running football schools in China.
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The Spanish paper linked Madrid's alleged connections with Soxna to the reported possibility that the La Liga giants are set to be hit with one year transfer bans by FIFA for irregularities in signing youth players -- similar to the punishment which Barcelona are currently suffering.
The Bernabeu club have reacted with an official statement which said it was not involved in any youth development work with either Soxna or Guangzhou Evergrande which was in any way contrary to FIFA's youth transfer regulations.
"Following the reports published today by the newspaper Diario AS concerning the schools that Soxna and Evergrande have in Spain, Real Madrid C. F. wish to state the following:
"1. Any football schools that Soxna and Evergrande have in Spain were created outwith the activities of Real Madrid.
"2. Real Madrid were invited to participate in this project, and the club's response was firm and unequivocal. In a letter sent to Evergrande, dated May 20, 2014, the Real Madrid Foundation said:
'In response to the proposal made by Evergrande to create a branch of the Guangzhou school in Madrid through the creation of an academy linking the brands Evergrande and the Real Madrid Foundation, our reply must unfortunately be negative. This is because the creation of an academy to bring non-resident Chinese children to Spain to link them to clubs' youth academy activities is in conflict with FIFA regulations. If other Chinese companies are carrying out a similar activity with Spanish clubs, this could lead to FIFA sanctions being applied to them. Furthermore, the proposal that you have made to us not only places Real Madrid at risk of sanctions, but also Guangzhou Evergrande.'
"3. All Real Madrid activities with Soxna and Evergrande are carried out exclusively in the territory of China, with the objective of helping both to promote football and the education of children through our social sports schools in China.
"4. The club regrets this report that attempts to link Real Madrid to the schools that Soxna and Evergrande have in Spain, and is absolutely false.
"5. Real Madrid wish to reiterate once again the club's total commitment to the defence and protection of minors and to the strict adherence to FIFA regulations in this regard."
FIFA only permits international youth transfers when one of the following three situations apply: the player's parents have moved country for their own non-related reasons; the move takes place within the European Union if a player is aged between 16 and 18; or the player's home is less than 50 kms from the national border being crossed.
Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Villarreal are among the other La Liga teams which reportedly could face sanctions from FIFA due to having broken these regulations.
Barcelona have called for a general amnesty for all Spanish clubs found to have broken the rules in this area, which would allow the Catalan club to sign players during the current transfer window.