It will be a waiting game now for Manchester City before the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules on the Benjamin Garre case. On the part of City, they feel they acted appropriately in regards the transfer of the player days after his 16th birthday. Velez Sarsfield, who once had Nicolas Otamendi on their books, feel very differently on the matter.
If found guilty and the ruling comes back against City sanctions imposed could include transfer bans for the next couple of windows. So, for example, if it was to come back in favour of the Argentinian side then City may not be able to register anyone until January 2019.
The key word there is register, not sign, but even so it would not be something City want to manoeuvre around. There is always an appeal and that could allow us the January transfer window but City seem confident it will not come to that.
Sarsfield contest that Manchester City should not have been able to sign their player because you have to be at least 18 in order to move to a European club. However City, backed by FIFA, argued that because the player held an Italian passport he was free to move to them at 16. Velez dispute that and says that rule only applies from European club to European club and not outside the European Union, no matter what passport he holds.
Interestingly though, an article written by the Manchester Evening News over a year ago, states openly that at 15 he had already been courted by City, Manchester United and Barcelona. He had been to United before and had a trial before City made their allegedly illegal approach. Was the United trial questioned sanctioned by Velez?
Some might say that the accusations coming from Argentina have more to do with their own current financial situation, currently reporting losses in the region of 198million Argentinian Pesos. However, looking at the FIFA rules, I do think there could be a case to answer.
FIFA’s Article 19, protection of minors, clearly states that International transfers can only take place when the player reaches the age of 18. FIFA goes on to say that there are three exceptions to this rule:
a) The player’s parents move to the country in which the new club is located for reasons not linked to football.
I do not see any evidence of that and, in fact that is not what FIFA said in their ruling when they came down on the side of Manchester City.
b) The transfer takes place within the territory of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) and the player is aged between 16 and 18
This is clearly what FIFA pointed to when stating there were to be no disciplinary repercussions for City. But, as you can see, the wording states that the transfer takes place ‘within the territory of the EU’ and not if the player just happens to have an Italian passport.
So, we wait. Hopefully we will have a final decision in our favour before we head to Chelsea at the end of September.