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FIFA probes Real over transfers of minors

MADRID-MINOR

MADRID, Spain, January 23 – Real Madrid are being investigated by FIFA as it tries to determine whether the Champions League winners have followed rules relating to the transfer of young players, Spanish newspaper AS has reported.

Officials at world football’s governing body want to establish whether Real have breached article 19 of its regulations on the transfer of players.

The article prohibits the transfer of players under the age of 18 except in certain predetermined situations.

AS has seen confidential FIFA documents on the investigation, which it said had come about as the result of an anonymous tip-off.

The paper said FIFA’s investigation may have started over the cases of Venezuelan youngsters Manuel Godoy and Fernando Macias, who were brought to Madrid by Miguel Angel Coira, an Argentinean ex-footballer who runs a football school for young players in Madrid.

It reported that the governing body asked the Spanish Football Federation to see all documentation relating to underage players at clubs with which Real have agreements.

It said 22 such clubs existed in the Madrid Autonomous Region, with the possibility of more such arrangements being in place with overseas clubs.

The report revealed that the agreements between Real and feeder clubs include a clause stating that all their players, in every age group, must be available to Madrid squads.

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The feeder clubs also agree to provide the players’ registration documents and ensure they are registered in the name of Real Madrid, it added.

FIFA’s Head of Integrity and Compliance, Kimberly Morris, wrote to the Spanish federation to ask for the information to be made available before Jan.14.

AS reported that federation secretary Jorge Perez passed that request to the clubs involved within 48 hours, and said lawyers for the Bernabeu club had examined the documents that were sent on to FIFA.

Last year, FIFA imposed a transfer ban on Barcelona for irregularities in the signing of underage players between 2009 and 2013, with the sanction meaning that Barca cannot sign any players until Jan. 1 next year. The club failed in an appeal against the punishment.

Its investigation into Real Madrid comes at a time when the club have signed a spate of youngsters including 16-year-olds Mink Peeters, from Ajax, and highly-rated Norway international Martin Odegaard from Stromsgodset.

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