Manchester City have been reported to FIFA by Vélez Sarsfield over the alleged ‘trafficking’ of midfielder Benjamin Garré, who the Premier League club signed in July when the youngster turned sixteen.
The grandson of World Cup winner Oscar ‘El Mago’ Garré made the switch after City reportedly beat off competition from Barcelona and Manchester United and although they deny any wrong doing, Vélez have been left furious by the manner of his exit.
FIFA’s rules on the transfers of minors are clear and they prevent clubs from signing players under the age of 16 from outside the European Union – a rule that has recently cost Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid a transfer ban.
Vélez’s grievance is just this and the accusation is that Manchester City approached Garré when he was still fifteen.
“Never have I experienced such an immoral act,” raged club president Raúl Gámez.
“They offered money to take a 15-year-old child who is in the middle of his stage of development. We don’t know what they offered the father and the child in order to convince them.”
Gámez went on to suggest that City offered the club €50,000 when Garré made his professional debut and an additional €1 million in potential add-ons but the Argentine club were not interested.
“In Vélez, we defend values and we act in good faith. We are not interested in collecting €50,000 or €1,000,000 if said action is prohibited and may affect the player.
“What is most important in these cases is the formation and development of the child, in a supportive environment, above economic or strictly sports interests. It is crazy to think that our youngsters can find themselves in a situation of vulnerability or abuse in a foreign country, without their family or somebody to protect them.
“We consider Manchester City is a club that cannot violate the regulations of FIFA and even less act with bad faith. We are interested in protecting the child we have been educating since he was 11 and therefore, if necessary, we will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
After rejecting City’s offer, Gámez alleges that City waited until the player turned sixteen and then given he has an Italian passport signed him for free.
It wasn’t only City that came under fire from Gámez though with the president bemoaning the state of Argentine football and placing some of the blame at the door of the Football Association.
“We had a youth player stolen from us. While AFA keeps messing around, we will continue to be without protection,” he told Gol de Vestuario.