Restriction on minors’
movement first came into picture when a “Commission-condoned” FIFA transfer
rules incorporated Article 12 which specifically dealt with the protection of
minors’ i.e. refusal of their transfer request from one club to another club of
provision intended to retaliate the detrimental repercussions of international
transfers of a minor, heralding a new era in the transfer policy across
The prohibition was not absolute and carved out two exceptions; the
“parents-rule” allowing minors to transfer internationally with their family
following them, in which the new club is located, for “reasons not linked to football3”. Second
being, the “EU and EEA rule”, which allowed players’, younger than 18 but above
the minimum working age, to transfer internationally, wherein the training clubs
were held accountable for providing a systemic education and sufficient
exposure for nurturing of talents4. However,
these exceptions further led to intricacies which were dealt by FIFA’s Players
Status Committee (“PSC”, body adjudicating on matters related to the protection
of minors) adjudicating on issues raised by national associations5 and
after many deliberations added a third exception, known as the “50 + 50-rule”6 that specifically aimed at improving the
situation of players living close to national suffering by the problem that is cross-border traffic7.
rule allows minors’ to partake trials of a club of a neighboring association
within 50 kilometers of the national border (minors’ native country) provided
that the players don’t seek a permanent move to the neighboring state. This has
given rise to serious uncertainties with regard to prohibition on international
transfer as the FIFA circular seeks to vitiate the prohibition on one hand8 and
subsequently allow minors to “partake” in trials of clubs situated within 50
kms of the national border9, on
the other. The new exception (Article 12(1) (c)) to the ban on international
transfers was amended and adopted by FIFA in July 2005 repealing Article 12 and
1 FIFA RSTP, Art. 12 (2001).
3 FIFA RSTP, Art. 12(1)(a) (2001).
4 FIFA RSTP, Art. 12(1)(b) (2001).
5 FIFA Circular no. 801, 28 March 2002.
6 F. de Weger, The Jurisprudence of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, Asser Press , p. 14 (2nd ed. 2016)
7 Supra at 5.
8 FIFA RSTP, Art. 12(1)(c)
(2001), FIFA Circular no. 801, 28 March 2002, “Amendments to the FIFA
Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players”.
9 Supra 5.