Serie A club Spezia handed transfer ban for signing underage Nigeria footballers

The Eagles were punished on Friday after a thorough investigation by football’s world governing body

Fifa Disciplinary Commission has sanctioned Serie A club Spezia from signing new players after they were found guilty of bringing several underage players from Nigeria to Italy.

They have been banned from signing new players for four transfer windows, starting from January 2022 till the summer of 2023.

In addition to the suspension, Spezia will also pay a fine of 500,000 Swiss francs.

The Eagles finished in the 15th spot during the 2020-21 Serie A season and the punishment come as a blow to former PSG star Thiago Motta who was appointed as new manager a week ago.  

“Following an investigation carried out by the FIFA Regulatory Execution Department, the Disciplinary Commission of the highest football body found that the La Spezia club violated Article 19 of the FIFA Regulations on the status and transfer of players (RSTP) by having brought several Nigerian underage footballers to Italy using a system designed to circumvent the aforementioned RSTP article as well as national immigration regulations,” read a statement on Fifa website.

“Taking into account Spezia Calcio’s admission of responsibility for its serious regulatory violations, the FIFA Disciplinary Commission imposed a market blockade, nationally and internationally, for four sessions along with a fine of 500,000 Swiss francs. Spezia Calcio, therefore, will not be able to register new players for the next four market registration periods established by the Italian Football Federation.”

Two other Italian clubs were found guilty of the offence USD Lavagnese 1919 and Valdivara 5 Terre, and they were also suspended from signing new players until the summer of 2023 with a fine of 4,000 Swiss francs each.

It continued: “The FIFA Disciplinary Commission has also imposed a freeze on the market, nationally and internationally, for four registration periods and a fine of CHF 4,000 against USD Lavagnese 1919 and Valdivara 5 Terre, since these two clubs played a active role in the aforementioned system.

“The protection of minors is a fundamental objective of the legal framework governing the transfer system of players and the effective application of these rules is essential to ensure the protection of the well-being of minors on all occasions. The three football clubs were informed today of the decision of the Fifa Disciplinary Commission.”

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About the Author: Agnes Zang