FIFA Bans Barcelona Football Club from Player Trades until 2015

May 9, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. acquisition /ˌækəˈzɪʃən/ (n.) – the process of getting something valuable
Example: The team’s recent acquisition of new players will be beneficial in the next tournament.

2. underage /ˌʌnərˈeɪdʒ/ (adj.) – not yet of proper or legal age
Example: The league’s policy does not allow underage players.

3. connive /kəˈnaɪv/ (v.) – to secretly work together for an illegal activity
Example: The referees connived to help the other team win.

4. stipulate /ˈstɪpəˌleɪt/ (v.) – to cite something according to the rules or agreement
Example: The agreement stipulates that teams cannot sign underage foreign players.

5. committee /kəˈmɪt (n.) – group of people that handles and decides on specific issues
Example: The committee will soon announce the punishment on the players involved.


Read the text below.
FIFA banned the Barcelona Football Club (FC Barcelona or Barca [bar-sa]) from any player acquisitions until 2015 because of its violation of rules on underage players.

FIFA reported that Barca seriously violated rules on underage players after signing up 10 non-Spanish minor players. Aside from the one-year ban that prohibits Barcelona from releasing or signing players, a fine worth $509,000 was also imposed on the team. The football organization gave Barca 90 days to fix the issue concerning this illegal act.

The Spanish Football Association (FA) was also fined $560,000 for conniving in the illegal transactions and was given one year to revise the association’s rules on the transfer of international minors.

FIFA’s rules stipulate that international players must be 18 before they can transfer and play in another country. However, minors can still be allowed to transfer if they fall under one of the three specific conditions: the player’s parents transferred to the country for personal reasons; the player moved within the European Union only and is at least 16 years old; or the player’s home is less than 50 kilometers from the destination. FIFA’s players’ status committee also needs to evaluate the situation before granting approval of a minor’s transfer.

According to FIFA, they impose such sanctions to protect minors from the risk of abuse and manipulation in a foreign country.

This punishment is a new challenge to the image of Europe’s football industry. A prior incident was the alleged tax evasion concerning Brazilian star athlete Neymar, who also plays for FC Barcelona.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think FIFA’s sanctions on Barca and the Spanish Football Association are enough? Why or why not?
·         Is FIFA also at fault for FC Barcelona’s violation of the rules? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some teams like Barca include minors in their group despite the restrictions?
·         How can sports organizations ensure that rules are properly followed?


May 9, 2014