Capello urges Fifa to tighten rules outlawing 'stealing' of youngsters


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Tighter rules should be introduced by Fifa to stop European clubs from "stealing" talented young players from other countries, according to the England manager, Fabio Capello. The Italian said globalisation of football meant clubs were filling their youth teams with players sourced from all over the world, often to the detriment of their long-term development.

"A line needs to be drawn," Capello told a football conference in Dubai. "Clubs are talent-scouting all over the world and are stealing young players. Fifa should pass new rules. I've spoken to [Uefa president Michel] Platini and in the future clubs will be forbidden to steal players when they are very young."

Football's governing body Fifa has a statute, Rule 19, banning the international transfer of players under 18, but allows this if the player's parents move to the country in which the new club is located for reasons not linked to football.

A rule banning under-16 transfers exists as far as European Union transfers are concerned, but this is often flouted. Top European clubs have long been accused of using financial muscle to harvest the best young players from abroad, with English clubs and the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona often implicated.

The Italian said the rewards being offered to young players by the richest clubs to sign with them were often too good to turn down.

"These clubs are offering players and their families a lot of financial support. If the family is poor and it will contribute to the family, they will be happy to move abroad," Capello said.