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By ESPN Staff
Feb 20, 2008

Reggina complain to UEFA as Chelsea poach teen

Reggina have launched official complaints to the Italian Football Federation and UEFA after the claiming their 15-year-old defender Vincenzo Camilleri has passed up a chance to sign a professional contract with the club to join Chelsea instead.

Camilleri had been expected to sign with Reggina next month when he turns 16 but the Serie A club have just discovered that he intends to move to Chelsea.

'The player was contacted a couple of months ago when he was and still is a Reggina player,' claimed Reggina supremo Lillo Foti.

'This is an action of disloyalty and incorrectness.

'Reggina must announce that Vincenzo Camilleri has refused to take part in an official game for the club and has preferred to travel to London accompanied by his mother and a type of agent to reach a financial agreement with Chelsea.

'We have made complaints to the Italian Football Federation and to UEFA.'

Foti then launched a stinging attack on Chelsea.

'Roman Abramovich's Chelsea think that with money they can take away from Reggina and Italian football those values with which with care and sacrifice the small clubs follow to give youngsters an opportunity to develop,' he said.

UEFA president Michel Platini expressed his regret over the situation.

Platini said to Gazzetta dello Sport: 'Young players should remain in the club they come from with their families, postponing their move to another club or another country until they are 20 or 22.

'Whoever makes that leap at the age of 14 can risk returning destroyed at 16, just because they didn't succeed.

'I don't like the system for players to be taken away from nations that otherwise lose their talented players.

'Due to money the best players go to the big clubs.

'Money is important but it cannot be a dominant element in this sport. Football is a game, it should not become a product.'

FIFA regulations allow the transfer of 16 to 18-year-olds as long as it is between member states of the European Union.