Man City wait anxiously if they'll be hit with two-window transfer ban over teenager signing

By Mirror: Tuesday, April 17th 2018 at 13:11 GMT +3 | Sports


Man City teenage academy player Benjamin Garre. [Photo: Courtesy]

Manchester City are anxiously waiting to find out if they will be hit by a transfer ban, after allegedly breaching rules with regards the signing of Argentine starlet Benjamin Garre.

City have been battling in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with the 17-year-old’s former club, Velez Sarsfield, after snapping up the youngster almost two years ago.

Garre moved to the Etihad Stadium in 2016, but the Argentine club filed a complaint with FIFA in the September of that year, claiming City broke transfer regulations on approaching under-age players.

Velez claim City acted unethically by approaching Garre when he was just 15, before signing him days after his 16th birthday.

FIFA allow transfers of minors between clubs in the European Union and the initial complaint was dismissed as Garre has an Italian passport.

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Benjamin Garre (standing) in action for Man City academy team. [Photo: Courtesy]

However Velez officials claimed City broke rules because Garre played for a club in Argentina, thus taking the case to the CAS.

That case has been running since July, with a court case heard nine months ago. A verdict due last September was delayed but now the CAS are prepared to finally deliver their verdict in the next week.

As such, City facing the prospect of being banned from registering players in each of the next two transfer windows - a fate suffered previously by Atletico Madrid - if the CAS side with Velez. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona have also served bans in recent years also.

"We're angry because City came after our player, we said no and they took him anyway,” declared Velez club secretary Bernardo Bertelloni last year. That’s not good behaviour between two clubs.

"He (Garre) left here a couple of days before his 16th birthday, he spent a few days in Germany and he entered England one day after his 16th birthday.

"Man City argued that there is an exception in the FIFA rules - But the FIFA rule does not say that, it says he can move only within the EU, between EU clubs."

City insist that they acted within the rules but if found guilty it could throw Pep Guardiola’s summer transfer plans into disarray. If they are found guilty however, they would have the right to appeal, which could then delay any transfer embargo.

City are currently banned from signing academy players from certain English clubs after being found guilty of breaching Premier League youth development rules over the signing of two players.

The ban was for two years, although the second year, set to begin on June 30, 2018, will be suspended for three years.