Oh dear. Real Madrid could be in big, big trouble.
After watching on as their arch-rivals Barcelona received a 12-month transfer ban, Real are now understood to be going through a similar investigation by FIFA as to the signing of underage players from outside the European Union.
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According to Spanish publication AS, the reigning European champions have a month to get together relevant paperwork to prove they did not break rules in signing two 12 year olds from Venezuela back in 2012.
The players in question are said to be Manuel Godoy and Fernando Macias, who arrived in the Spanish capital almost three years ago. Godoy was signed by Real in 2012, while Macias is currently in the youth system of Madrid-based Rayo Vallecano.
If found guilty by FIFA of breaking the same rules Barcelona did, the current La Liga leaders can expect a similarly heavy penalty for breaching Article 14. That rule only allows the signing of U-18 players from outside the EU if the player’s parents have had to move to the country where the club is based, for non-soccer reasons. The rule is in place so the big teams cannot simply pay for entire families to relocate to a new nation, so their son can sign for them.
With Real splashing the cash to land Brazilian sensation Lucas Silva this weekend and winning the race to sign the world’s hottest teenage property, Martin Odegaard, last week, it seems like Los Blancos are stocking up on players a la Barcelona, as the are preparing for the worst and a lengthy transfer ban.
Expect to see plenty of players arrive at the Santigao Bernabeu in the coming six months, as the Spaniards are planning to stockpile talent just in case a transfer ban arrives.