International transfers of players are only permitted if the player is over the age of 18 years. The exception to this rule under article 19 of the FIFA statute of October 2022 is as follows;
- The player’s parents move to the country in which the new club is located for reasons not linked to football.
- The transfer takes place within the territory of the European Union or European Economic Area 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 to play 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.
- The player lives no further than 50km from a national border and the club with which the player wishes to be registered in the neighboring 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.
- The player flees his country of origin for humanitarian reasons, specifically related to his life or freedom is threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, belonging to a particular social group, or political opinion, without his parents and is therefore at least temporarily permitted to reside in the country of arrival.
- The player is a student and moves without his parents to another country temporarily for academic reasons in order to undertake an exchange program. The duration of the player’s registration for the new club until he turns 18 or until the end of the academic or school program cannot exceed one year. The player’s new club may only be a purely amateur club without a professional team or without a legal, financial or de facto link to a professional club.
The above provisions shall also apply to any player who has never previously been registered with a club, is not a national of the country in which he wishes to be registered for the first time and has not lived continuously for at least the last five years in the said country.
General procedural principles
- Every international transfer and every first registration in accordance with the above paragraphs as well as every first registration of a foreign minor player who has lived continuously for at least the last five years in the country in which he wishes to be registered is subject to the approval of the sub-committee appointed by the Players’ Status Committee for that purpose if the concerned minor player is at least 10 years. The application for approval shall be submitted by the association that wishes to register the player as per the request of its affiliated club. The former association shall be given the opportunity to submit its position. The subcommittee’s approval shall be obtained prior to any request from an association for an and/or first registration.
- If the minor player concerned is under the age of 10, it is the responsibility of the association that intends to register the player as per the request of its affiliated club to verify and ensure that the circumstances of the player fall, beyond all doubt, under one of the exceptions provided above or the five-year rule. Such verification shall be made prior to any registration.
- Under special circumstances, a member association may submit a written request through the transfer matching system to the sub-committee, seeking a decision granting it a limited minor exception (LME). The LME, if granted, relieves the member association, under specific terms and conditions and solely for amateur minor players who are to be registered with purely amateur clubs, from the obligation to make a formal application for approval through the transfer matching system to the sub-committee. In such a case, prior to any request for an International Transfer Certificate and/or a first registration, the association concerned is required to verify and ensure that the circumstances of the player fall, beyond all doubt, under one of the applicable exceptions provided above.
- The Disciplinary Committee in accordance with the FIFA Disciplinary code will impose sanctions for any violation of the above provision. Sanctions may also be imposed on the former association for issuing, when applicable, an International Transfer Certificate without the prior approval of the sub-committee, as well as on the clubs that were involved in the transfer of a minor.