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FOOTBALL TRAINING CENTERS

FOOTBALL TRAINING CENTERS

FOOTBALL TRAINING CENTERS

A- Conditions and criteria for access to training centers

This additional study shows that the conditions and criteria for access to the centers
training for young football players may vary from one Member State to another.
Most of the time, the criteria and conditions are linked and combined. We have identified
following criteria and conditions:
- physical and sporting criteria laid down by the national football federations,
- criteria and conditions laid down by the clubs,
- criteria and conditions related to schooling / education,
- criteria and conditions relating to medical aspects,
- geographic criteria.
1) Physical and sporting criteria decreed by the national federations
Physical and sporting criteria naturally play an important role for the access of young people players in training centers insofar as only talented players can succeed.
In Austria, players between the ages of 10 and 14 are selected by recruiters from regional federations. Only the most talented players are allowed to join the center. training. The sporting criteria taken into account are technical, speed, coordination and games. From 15 to 19 years old, the best players selected by the coaches and management enter a football academy.
In Belgium, at the age of 14, talented players can join the training center of
the Royal Belgian Union of Football Societies - Association (URBSFA) according to the criteria following: winning spirit, personal control, self-confidence, speed, understanding of the game, and ball and body control. These criteria are checked by URBSFA observers at specific exam courses.
In France, players must be at least 15 years old on December 31 of the previous season and have signed a contract, approved by the Professional Football League (LFP), with the center of
training, directly or through their legal representative.
2) Conditions and criteria laid down by football clubs
Many football clubs hold competitions to find talented players and to decide, according to their conditions and criteria, which players can join their center training. In addition, most of these clubs rely on a network of recruiters.
In Belgium, there is no standard criterion for all football clubs. The responsibles
junior teams from professional clubs decide which player can, or cannot, join training centers according to their own selection criteria.
In Bulgaria, young players who want to train and play for Lokomotiv Sofia have to take a physical and sports test during their entrance exam.
Irish club Drogheda United FC United say two main conditions for young people players in order to join the training center are (i) parental permission and (ii) the absence of medical contraindication. There appear to be no restrictions on nationality and age.
In Germany, to enter a training center, young players must be members of the club on which the training center depends.
Portuguese clubs, such as Braga, Boavista, Sporting SAD and Guimares, sometimes organize
tests. Young players can access their training centers if they meet the physical and sporting criteria. In addition, Sporting SAS, which prefers to recruit players who have between 8 and 15 years old, benefits from a network of recruiters who provide the club with the best players in several Portuguese clubs.
In Spain, only players who are part of a club and who are under their observation have the
possibility of joining a particular training center. Selection is based on criteria athletic and physical.
3) Conditions and criteria related to education
In some Member States, young players must fulfill their school obligations to be authorized to join a training center. This corresponds to the information collected during our general study on the training of young athletes in Europe according to which the school is compulsory in all Member States up to a certain age which can vary from 15 to 18 years.
In the Czech Republic, there are no restrictions on accessing a training center regarding nationality, but the transfer must take place within the framework of UEFA rules. The player must be enrolled in a school in the Czech Republic and there must be an agreement from parents or the player's legal counsel on the conditions under which the player will be trained.
In Finland, FC TPS Turku stressed that beyond the talent and the desire to train, a young player must respect his school obligations.
In France, school is compulsory until the age of 16 and the player can then continue his schooling with his training if he wishes.
In Portugal, the law requires the player to follow nine consecutive years of study before signing a sports contract.
4) Conditions and criteria relating to medical aspects
As we already pointed out during our general study on the training of young athletes in Europe, due to the professionalization of sport, there is a specific need for protection young athletes by ensuring the high level of training and that the intensive practice of sport does not represent a risk to their health.
In Greece, there is no limit to join training centers or clubs but you have to parental consent is required. The training center is also obliged to provide a service medical and life insurance for coaching and athletes.
In Hungary players can join a training club at the earliest at the age of 17 after medical examinations.
In Malta, there are no specific conditions except that all young players must produce a medical certificate attesting to a state of health permitting the practice of football.
5) Geographic criteria (distance from the trip to the center training)
In Italy, a child can join a training center from the age of 6, but up to the age of 16 years old, a player can only join a training center in the region where his players reside parents. Exceptional permission may be granted by the president of the federation national in accordance with the social and educational needs of the player.
In the United Kingdom, the quality charter of the football federation has introduced criteria and conditions regarding infrastructure and technical skills. However, according to the federation criteria have recently lost importance due to the fact that two leagues have
limit their sanctions and enact their own quality criteria.
The Premier League requires that in addition to respecting applicable national and international criteria, players must reside near training centers, as follows:
- 9 to 11 years old: maximum 1 hour journey,
- 12 to 14 years old: maximum 1½ of journey.
English football league requires players to sign a registration form and accept rules of conduct for clubs, players and parents. Players must live at maximum, 90 minutes journey from their club (12 to 16 years old) or, maximum, 60 minutes journey (less than 12 years).

B- Restrictions applicable to young players for access to the centerstraining related to their nationality

Access to training centers in all Member States depends mainly on conditions and criteria mentioned above in section A. However, our study shows that some restrictions on access to training centers, for young players, are based on nationality criteria.
In practice, the restrictions are generally linked to the age of the players, insofar as in some member states where players are only allowed to join training centers located in the region where they live.
In addition, the FIFA rules applicable to football, dated 5 July 2001, which limit strongly transfers from players who are under 18, are assumed to apply in all Member States.

1) Identification of restrictions applicable to all foreign players (no national)

In Belgium, players who wish to join the URBSFA training center must have Belgian nationality.
In Italy, players from the European Union and national players who are under 16 can only join a club located in the area where their parents live.
In Germany, for teams from 16 to 19 years old, at least 12 players on the team must be able to play in a German national team.
In Portugal, according to the Portuguese football federation, all foreign players must have more 18 years old. It seems that this concerns all players who do not have Portuguese nationality.
In Malta, the registration of foreign players in a football school is authorized with respect FIFA rules. According to the Maltese football federation, are considered players foreigners, all players:
(i) who are not citizens of the European Union or of a State in the Economic Area European (EEA);
(ii) who are citizens of another country but who do not enjoy a free right movement and / or labor rights in the Maltese Republic.
In France, foreign players are divided into three categories:
- players from the European Union and the EEA,
- "Malaja-Cotonou" players or players from a country that has concluded an agreement association or cooperation with the European Union,
- players from other countries.
In France, in the “Pôle Espoirs” and the “Pôle France” 1 , only French citizens are admitted.
According to information provided by the French football federation, the restrictions, according to FIFA rules, are linked to the age of the players.
According to the English football league, there are no other restrictions, for players wishing
join a training center, as the FIFA rules governing international transfers below the age of 18 (or below 16 in the EEA) and the law of residence.

2) Identification of restrictions applicable to players not from the European Union

Information concerning restrictions on players from outside the European Union brought by the laws of the Member States which have been communicated to us may be distinguished as follows:
- Member States which do not have specific rules for players not originating from the European Union,
- Member States which assimilate players who are not from the European Union but from countries which have concluded an agreement with the European Union to players from the European Union,
- Member States which have issued restrictions taking into account the talent of the players or the classification of their national team in international competitions,
- Member States which apply the FIFA rules on the transfer of players.

1 "Poles" is the name given, in France, to high-level sports training centers for athletes representing the
France during international competitions. The France poles welcome athletes aged 12 and over. The Hope Poles
welcome athletes under the age of 12.

a) Member States which do not have specific rules for players not originating from the European Union
In Austria or Belgium, it seems that there is no particular rule relating to players coming from countries outside the European Union, such as Cotonou players.
In Greece, Italy (except for Swiss players) and Malta (except for players from EEA), players from countries that have concluded an agreement with the European Union are treated like strangers.

b) Member States which assimilate players not originating from the European Union but from countries which have concluded an agreement with the European Union to players from
the European Union
In Bulgaria, Denmark, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland and Hungary, players coming of countries which have concluded an agreement with the European Union are treated as citizens of the European Union.
In Germany, players from certain countries have special advantages in obtaining a residence or work permit. These rules are based on European Union agreements with other countries. In addition, there are bilateral agreements. In general, restrictions apply only in the highest junior leagues, for juniors A / B. In the lowest leagues, no difference is made between Germans and foreigners.
In Spain, players who are from one of the countries that have concluded an agreement with Spain
are allowed to play in national competition only if an employment contract has been concluded by the
player himself or his parents. According to the Spanish professional football league, the players
foreigners, i.e. players outside the European Union, are allowed to participate in
national competitions only if they have joined a training center before the age of 14.
c) Member States which have issued restrictions taking into account the talent of the players or
the classification of their national team in international competitions
In France, a maximum of 4 players outside the European Union and Cotonou agreements are authorized to play in the club. It seems that all foreign players, regardless of the type of contract they
conclude (aspirant, trainee, apprentice, elite or professional) can be included in this quota.
Regarding the Cotonou agreements, players must justify a selection in the national team of their country of origin when they enter French territory.
According to the English football federation, the only obligation for players from a country
outside the European Union is that they must play regularly in their national team. So,
only the best players from these countries are allowed to join English clubs. The first one
English League specifies that players can join a club after their 16th birthday
provided they meet the requirements of FIFA and UEFA.
In England, only players with a European Union passport can take advantage of the
freedom of movement and can join and play in a club. The only restriction to this rule
concerns players from Bulgaria and Romania who need to obtain a permit
work before being able to be engaged as a professional player by an English club (state law).
According to the Royal Dutch Football Federation, a player who is not a national of the Union
European must have played in the biggest competitions of his country of origin: (i) either
country is ranked in the top 40 of the FIFA world ranking at the time the player applies
for the permit, (ii) and the player played a game for the national team or represented the team
national, (iii) either the player played in the UEFA Cup or the Champions League.
d) Member States which apply FIFA rules on the transfer of players
In Italy, players not coming from a European Union country cannot join a
professional team before turning 18. However, if a player leaves his country with his family
to come and live in Italy, he can join an Italian training center from the age of 16.
According to the English football club Sunderland, players from outside the European Union
and who are under 16 cannot join the club academy unless their parents
moved to the area for reasons other than football.

C- Conditions of assimilation of non-national players to players national

In some Member States of the European Union, foreign players can be assimilated
to national players if they meet specific criteria.
We have identified the following criteria:
- the player's place of residence,
- the age of the player and his place of registration in a football federation,
- the duration during which the player has played in a country,
- the nationality of the player.

1) The player's place of residence

In Austria, a player is assimilated to a national player if he has his main residence in the country
and if he is registered with the Austrian football federation before the age of 17.
According to the French football federation, all non-national players are treated as
nationals as soon as they legally reside on French territory.

2) The age of the player and his place of registration in a football federation

In Italy, foreign players are assimilated to national players if they have never been registered
in a club in their home country or in another country. If registration in an Italian club is
the first in the player's career, he will always be considered a national player.
In Malta, a player is assimilated to a national player if he has been registered with a club of the federation
Maltese football for three years between 12 and 18 years old.

3) The length of time the player has played in a country

In Belgium, a foreign player who has received training for three years in the same club
is assimilated to a national player when he plays in the official matches of Belgian competitions.
In Germany, a young player who comes from a country that is not part of the European Union and
who has played five consecutive years in a German club is assimilated to a Union player
European in the A and B junior teams of the German football league (Bundesliga). In
all other young player leagues, no difference is made between German players
or foreigners.
Players who have played for five years in Finland are assimilated to national players. These
five years don't have to be consecutive.

4) The nationality of the player

In Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Portugal, Slovenia and Hungary, all players
foreigners from countries which have not concluded an agreement with the European Union (e.g. Cotonou Agreement) are treated as European Union players.
According to the Greek football federation, the rules are changing in Greece in order to deal
European Union players as well as national players.
International agreements, such as the Cotonou Agreement, are fully accepted by Germany.
Players from signatory countries are treated the same as
citizens of the European Union, provided they have a residence or work permit.
In Italy, according to the football federation, at a professional level (players who have a contract), the
players from a country that has an agreement with the European Union are treated as
European Union players, but at a young level they are treated as players who
not coming from European Union countries. According to the Italian league, only Swiss players are
treated as European Union players, regardless of their age.
In England, if a foreign player has British nationality or the nationality of a
country of the European Union, he can then play at amateur or professional level.
Finally, it should be noted that the Polish football league has stressed that the number of players who
can be equated with Polish players is low due to the fact that the players come
in Poland after the age of 18 and therefore are not trained as young people
players in Poland.


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