By Sylvain Jamet

A report in last week’s France Football says Arsene Wenger is interested in signing a 12-year-old from Paris FC.

France Football’s weekly magazine had a comprehensive column on the big team’s summer transfer window and noted that Hannibal Mejbri, who plays for Paris FC, who have recently won the Danone Cup tournament, could cross the channel this Summer.

It’s not unusual in today’s football to sign youngsters but a 12 years old seems a bit of an early signing.

There are stringent FIFA regulations on signing minors that should not be breached as Barcelona recently found out. Barcelona have been hit with a two transfer window bans, but it doesn’t prevent them from buying players as we can see, they just cannot register and play them.

Let’s have a look at article 19 from the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players :

Article 19 Protection of minors

1. International transfers of players are only permitted if the player is over the
age of 18.
2. The following three exceptions to this rule apply:
a) The player’s parents move to the country in which the new club is located
for reasons not linked to football.
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. In this case, the new club must fulfil the following minimum obligations:
It shall provide the player with an adequate football education and/or
training in line with the highest national standards.
It shall guarantee the player an academic and/or school and/or
vocational education and/or training, in addition to his football
education and/or training, which will allow the player to pursue a career
other than football should he cease playing professional football.
It shall make all necessary arrangements to ensure that the player is
looked after in the best possible way (optimum living standards with a
host family or in club accommodation, appointment of a mentor at the
club, etc.).
It shall, on registration of such a player, provide the relevant association
with proof that it is complying with the aforementioned obligations.
c) The player lives no further than 50km from a national border and the
club with which the player wishes to be registered in the neighbouring
association is also within 50km of that border. The maximum distance
between the player’s domicile and the club’s headquarters shall be 100km.
In such cases, the player must continue to live at home and the two
associations concerned must give their explicit consent.

It will be interesting to see if that youngster does indeed move away from France to England at the tender age of 12.