The Chelsea (and co.) youth player scandal TSS September 9, 2009 Leeds United 6 Comments Since Chelsea were banned from signing any players for the next two transfer windows, everyone seems to have thrown their opinion into the mix regarding the tapping up of youth players, so I figure it’s only fair I have mine. Every lower league club has been a victim of the higher clubs tactics. I bet there’s not a single club outside the Premiership that’s never trained a youngster upto the age of 16, only to see him snatched from their grip just as he turns old enough to sign a professional contract. Since our relegation, we’ve been a constant target for the Premier League clubs. The reputation we have for developing youth talent is recognised throughout the country and there’s always a scout on hand waiting to move in and steal our latest development. Perhaps it’s divine retribution. Leeds will have snatched plenty of players from the smaller clubs back when we were a major force in this country, but it’s not until you’re sitting on the other side of the fence that you realise how frustrating it can be. The FA brought in the transfer tribunal so clubs would be compensated for the money spent on developing young players. Leeds have done well from this netting millions over the past few years with the most recent award being £600,000 (plus possible add-ons) for Garbutt just a few days ago. It’s a good first step, but not really enough. UEFA have now started to act on this suggesting that players should be tied to the club that trained them ’til the age of 18. This again is a positive, but I personally feel it should be older. 21 for me is a good age. Afterall, the player is highly unlikely to make the starting XI until he reaches this age and will most probably spend his time out on loan at lower clubs. Bringing this in will be tough though as it’s unlikely to meet the European Union’s working laws. Shaun Harvey’s raised a good point saying that compensation is no longer adequate punishment for clubs that breach the rules and tap up young players. The compensation rule has been in place a while now but has failed to deter the major clubs. Harvey suggests it may be time to start docking teams points for breaking the rules and I couldn’t agree more. If clubs that are struggling financially and are forced into administration are to be docked points then this should apply to the Premier League clubs that are causing the problems too. Fabian Delph is a prime example of the kind of money clubs should be getting for their talent. Most clubs are paid off so cheaply that it makes little difference to the bottom line of Premier League clubs finances. However, when the clubs have the player tied down and he’s unable to leave without both parties agreeing, the lower clubs get a decent sum of money for their talent. There’s a major difference bewteen £600,000 and £6,000,000! The kind of difference that could stop lower clubs from going into administration in the first place and give them the chance to compete in the Sky Sports savaged football leagues. For me, the Sky Sports funded Premier League is destroying football with it’s uneven distribution of money. When the lower clubs develop a player capable of earning them some money (or helping them achieve promotion) he’s snatched away from them for pittance. If a rule was brought in whereby young players could only leave through mutual consent, it would go a long way to levelling the uphill playing field. The ban imposed on Chelsea is an excellent move from UEFA. It’s taken a while for them to get into gear, but they have to start playing hard ball for the long term benefit of the game. If they were to follow this with bans (or points deductions) on Manchester City, Manchester United and anyone else found guilty of tapping up then it would bring an end to this ridiculous and totally unfair culture once and for all. More of the same please UEFA!