Barcelona Youth Players to Sue FIFA over Ban on Academy Prospects

The families of the Barcelona youth players banned from playing for the club and ordered to leave the La Masia youth academy by FIFA are planning to sue football’s governing body.

The Blaugrana were initially handed a lengthy transfer ban for breaching FIFA rules on signing international players under the age of 18.

But the Swiss-based federation recently went a step further by preventing the 10 players involved from training or even living at Barca’s famed La Masia academy, per Sport.

As, by definition, all those involved are overseas players, this has caused some controversy as some of the youngsters have nowhere to go, per Sport. 

One of the players involved is 15-year-old American Ben Lederman, who has been forced to fly back to the US while his family stay in Catalonia. His father Danny, a lawyer, has now pledged to sue FIFA for breaching his son’s human rights, per Spanish outlet El Mundo:

It’s okay but we don’t like being apart. FIFA don’t care about the kids, they only care about the money, World Cups, their profits. Where are the kids going to go who came from Cameroon? We’re talking about human rights. I know the litigation will be expensive but we’ll be able to take it all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). I think the rest of the kids are in the same situation and I’m doing it for their dreams too.

The youngsters involved are from a number of different countries, South Korean Lee Seung-Woo, 17, and Cameroonian 16-year-old Patrice Sousia among them.

Another consequence of the recent sanction is Barca attempting to adhere to FIFA’s orders by not renewing the licenses of five of their youth players.

Barcelona may have been in breach of FIFA’s rules, but their young prospects and their families are now being sanctioned.

The La Liga giants continue to thrive on the field and they currently sit atop the Spanish top flight after a perfect start to the new campaign.

But their off-field problems continue and they remain embroiled in a tax fraud case surrounding the purchase of Neymar from Brazilian club Santos.

The latest developments will undoubtedly ensure that relations between Barca and FIFA remain sour.