offpitch | 2015-09-06
FIFA: La Masia kids affected by the transfer ban cannot train or live at La Masia
According to journalist Oriol Domenech of Mundo Deportivo, FIFA has taken another measure that is seen to harm the kids who were banned in February 2013 from playing for FC Barcelona’s academy teams due to irregularities in their transfers. The club has recently been informed that the children in question cannot train in the Sant Joan Despí Sporting Center, nor can they live in La Masia housing, a decision that came as a shock to everyone.
One of the cases is that of the Cameroonian player Patrice Sousia, a 16-year-old forward who was training with Quique Álvarez’s Juvenil B team until a few days ago. Jordi Roura, responsible for the academy teams from Benjamin to Cadete, and the manager of the academy, Josep Llorca, informed Patrice that he won’t be able to train with his teammates anymore and that he has to leave La Masia.
Patrice is one of the most loved players in the academy and the support from his colleagues has been obvious in these last few days. The Juvenil B players gifted him a Barça shirt with the number ‘9’ and his name on it, signed by all of them. And the most generous act was that of the mother and brother of his teammate Álex Collado, Susana and Jonathan. The mother has taken Patrice in to live with them and the brother has managed to get Patrice to train with his team, el Prat, that plays in Tercera.
Barça will keep paying for his studies and give him a minimum monthly wage that allows him to pay for his expenses, with the idea of getting him back at the club when he turns 18 years old, on January 18, 2017.
Patrice is a very good and fast striker. He came to La Masia from the Eto’o Foundation after the 2012/13 season had already started, and in his first season he won the league with Denis Silva’s Infantil A team. He wasn’t able to play in the last two seasons due to the FIFA ban.
Ben returns to the US
Ben Lederman, a midfielder who was training with Franc Artiga’s Cadete A was also affected by this decision. Unlike Patrice, he was living in Barcelona with his parents who had moved here with him from California. Ben’s father, Danny Lederman, told the New York Times last week that his family is now moving to Florida to place Ben in a football academy where he can train and play normally. Mr. Lederman also had some very harsh words for FIFA’s ban: “It is killing him.” He added: “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?”
Only four remain
Of the nine kids who were banned from playing in 2013, just four are still at Barça: the French player Theo Chendri (Juvenil A) who is now 18 years old and can play, and the Korean players who are still unable to play: Seung Ho Paik, Seung-Woo Lee and Gyeol-Hee Jang, also with Gabri’s Juvenil A. The others, like Bobby Adekanye, is now playing for Liverpool, Takefusa Kubo went back to Japan and Kais Ruiz has signed for Paris Saint Germain.
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