Premier League clubs under investigaton by FIFA and could face bans - Real Madrid chief
The Real Madrid director general has claimed that a number of Premier League clubs are under investigation by Fifa and could face similar transfer window bans to the one imposed on his club for breaching rules on signing foreign players under the age of 18.
The claims have been made by Jose Angel Sanchez, repeated over a number of radio interviews given in Spain on Thursday night. His club have been banned by Fifa from trading in two transfer windows, this summer and January 2017, for breaking regulations on the cross-border transfer of at least 51 teenage players.
Sanchez did not specify which Premier League clubs he believes are under investigation by Fifa but certainly the leading English clubs have all recruited from overseas academies to a greater or lesser degree over the last decade. A Fifa spokesman said he was unable to comment on specific investigations.
Last week, the Fifa disciplinary committee banned Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid for two windows each for the breach. Barcelona served a similar ban for the same transgression last year.
Speaking to the El Larguero programme on Cadena Ser, Sanchez said: "I have relations with British clubs and I know for a fact that in many of these cases the disciplinary investigations have already started a while ago. I imagine that Fifa's resources for these investigations are limited and Fifa cannot do everything at the same time but I have the impression that this is being done at European level and that more cases will follow, one after the other."
Later Sanchez gave an interview to Onda Cero in which he said: "Because of my work I have a lot of relations with the English clubs and I know for a fact that Fifa has already opened investigations into some of them, I don't know if it has already reached the disciplinary stage. I have the feeling that Fifa wants to do this worldwide. I have the feeling there will be a lot of cases in the next couple of years."
Chelsea were banned in 2009 from trading in two windows over a dispute with Lens over the signing of Gael Kakuta but the Court of Arbitration for Sport later overturned the decision. Under Article 19 of Fifa’s transfer regulations there are three potential exceptions which a player under the age of 18 must meet to join a club outside his native country.
All exceptional applications are examined individually by a sub-committee of the Fifa player status committee. Commenting on the transfer window bans, a Fifa spokesman said: "Although in an individual case Fifa’s approach may appear harsh, it is only by enforcing the rules in a very consistent and strict manner that the abuses of the past can be avoided. There is no other realistic measure than a ban with strict enforcement and limited exceptions that can ensure the protection being sought."