After the debacle over the signing of youth players that resulted in the current transfer ban on the club, there have been new developments over the past few days. The case could now be brought to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The fight against FIFA has Danny Lederman, father of promising youngster Ben Lederman, at its forefront. The impact of FIFA's sanctions against the club have been much more than the transfer ban. Numerous youth players are currently either in limbo, have been released or have left the club.
While talents like the Korean duo Lee Seung Woo and Paik Seung Ho will join Barça B in January, the same is not the case for the other affected players. These players have had their respective fledgling careers extremely adversely affected by FIFA's decision to ban them from playing in official competitive matches for the club. A number of them have left Barça in the aftermath of FIFA's sanctions. The highly promising Bobby Adekanye has joined Liverpool. Takefusa Kubo has returned to his native Japan. Cameroonian teenager Patrice Sousia and 15-year-old Ben Lederman were recently told they would have to leave La Masia and were also banned from using any Barça facilities.
The crux of this matter is FIFA's Article 19, which states that "a player below the age of 18 can only be transferred if (1) the player's parents have moved country for non-footballing reasons, (2) the move occurs within the European Union if the player is aged between 16 and 18 or (3) the player's home is less than 100km from the relevant club." Though the rule is in place with good intentions, namely to prevent/minimise the trafficking of young players by unscrupulous agents, things should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
That is the essence of Danny Lederman's stance, "I understand the rule was made to protect kids from being pulled away from their families, but our family made a choice to move to Spain together. Why should FIFA be able to tell our family where it has to live if we want our kid to play soccer?" The Lederman family decided to leave the USA and move to Barcelona so Ben could chase his dream of potentially being the first American to play for the Barça 1st-team. Ben Lederman has now been forced to return to the USA to join the American U-17 residency program in Florida. FIFA aims to protect these minors. However, in the words of Danny Lederman - "FIFA is killing these kids and their families. It's a very corrupt organisation. I haven't ruled out taking the matter to court."
Not all of the kids affected have been as lucky as Lederman, having his whole family with him in Barcelona. Patrice Sousia has been given a home by the family of Álex Collado, his team-mate and friend at La Masia. Look past the current transfer ban. These kids are the true victims of this whole saga.