Saturday, 1 March 2008

Platini pledges to fight poaching of youngsters

UEFA President Michel Platini has vowed to combat under-age player transfers after Reggina complained about Chelsea's alleged pursuit of one of their junior players.

"I will combat the current system of transfers of young players," the former France and Juventus player told Rai television.

"I think they should sign their first contract with the club that brought them up and educated them. There was a recent case in Italy and I understand Reggina's argument."

Reggina complained to the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) last month after 15-year-old defender Vincenzo Camilleri went to London for talks with English Premier League side Chelsea.

The FIGC subsequently wrote to FIFA and UEFA about the issue.

Platini is concerned about the growing trend for top clubs to poach youngsters from other countries rather than trying to develop talent closer to home. He has been particularly critical of English clubs.

"I'm totally against those who buy under-age lads in another country," added Platini. "We should go to our politicians and tell them that we must bring our children up in our training centres and not sell them at 13-14 years of age to another club.

"We have to find a rule. I left for Italy when I was 27, I didn't leave Nancy, who had brought me up, at 14."

Source: Reuters

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