Manchester City have avoided a transfer ban despite admitting to breaching regulations relating to the international transfer and registration of under-18 players.
The Premier League champions have instead been fined 370,000 Swiss francs (£314,650) by FIFA after breaching article 19, among others, of the world governing body’s regulations on the status and transfer of players.
A FIFA statement read: “The Disciplinary Committee took into account the fact that Manchester City FC accepted its responsibility and sanctioned the club with a fine of Swiss francs 370,000.”
The Premier League champions were facing a ban from making signings, a punishment meted out to Chelsea – for two transfer windows – earlier this year.
FIFA has been investigating City’s international transfers for several years, although the club were cleared of breaking the rules when they signed Benjamin Garre from Velez Sarsfield in 2016 just after the Argentinian midfielder’s 16th birthday.
Last year, two players from Ghana’s Right to Dream football academy, Sierra Leone’s George Davies and Ghanaian Dominic Oduro, told Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that they signed for City and played in youth matches before they turned 18.
Both have since left City but FIFA has been investigating their time with the English club.
In regards to international transfers of players aged under 18, they are only allowed in three circumstances: the players’ parents have moved to the new country for non-footballing reasons, they and the club are based close to the relevant national border or the transfer takes place within the European Economic Area and the player is at least 16.
As well as Chelsea, Spanish trio Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid have all been punished for signing underage players from abroad in the past.
Real were able to get their ban reduced on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport – an avenue Chelsea have explored.
A statement on Manchester City’s website read: “Manchester City FC can confirm that it has today received a reprimand and a CHF 370,000 fine following the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee concerning the international transfer of players under the age of 18, particularly in relation to their trial periods and participation in friendly games.
“The club accepts responsibility for the breaches which arose as a result of misinterpretation of the regulations in question.
“All of the breaches occurred before December 2016 when guidance on the interpretation of the provisions was issued, since which date Manchester City has been fully compliant.
“The club regards highly and shares FIFA’s determination to ensure the protection of minors in football and has cooperated fully with the investigation which has been transparent and evidenced based at all times.”