FIFA is the highest governing body of football in the world. In French, the acronym stands for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, but in English, it is known as the International Federation of Association Football. This is not American football, but rather soccer, which is how the sport is known around most of the world. FIFA is a non-profit organization that is the international governing body of all things football-related. They are in charge of the organization and promotion of every major football tournament around the world. The most widely recognized being the World Cup. One of their jobs is to handle the transfer of players. This includes all ages, including minors, who are classified as players who are 18 years or younger in age.
With the increased interest in football each year, there also comes an increase in wages and demand for the best players, regardless of age. The rules regarding minor player transfers are outlined in the RSTP, or FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. There are laws in place to protect the children and strict rules around the trading of young players, especially because of the potential for human trafficking and/or exploitation of young players. One example is the mandatory ITC or international transfer certificate, that is required before any young player can be traded. The minimum age used to be 12 but after a loud outcry from FIFPro, the world’s professional players union, the age was reduced to 10.
The primary rules surrounding the protection of minors in football is located within Article 19 of the RSTP. It even has its purpose stated clearly in the article title itself: ‘Protection of Minors’. The main idea behind the article is to ensure that the international trading of players only happens with those who are over the age of 18, with a few exceptions. One such exception is if the player’s parents move to the destination country for reasons that are not affiliated in any way with football. Another stipulation is that the maximum distance between the minor-aged player’s home and the football club’s headquarters not be further than 100km, or 62 miles, apart. In addition, players aged 16-18 are required to have a specific set of allowances. An academic and/or vocational education in addition to his football education is required. In addition, they should be assigned a mentor, and be provided with optimum living standards.