Manchester City fined £315,000 for transfer breaches, but avoid ban

Man City: "The club accepts responsibility for the breaches which arose as a result of misinterpretation of the regulations in question"

Manchester City

Manchester City have avoided a transfer ban after being fined £315,000 by FIFA for breaches relating to international transfers and registration of players under the age of 18.

Chelsea were handed a one-year transfer ban and fined more than £460,000 in February after being found guilty of breaching rules about signing minors by FIFA.

FIFA officials have clarified why City were fined for breaching the same article as Chelsea, who were banned, with the world football's governing body revealing City's admission of responsibility was a factor in determining their punishment.

"In its decision on Manchester City, FIFA's Disciplinary Committee took into consideration all specific circumstances of the case as well as the club's cooperation in clarifying the relevant facts," a FIFA spokesperson told Sky Sports News.

"It is important to stress that the specific circumstances of this case differ from previous cases involving breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18."

FIFA's Disciplinary Code states:

“The judicial body shall take into account all relevant factors of the case, including any assistance of and substantial cooperation by the offender in uncovering or establishing a breach of any FIFA rule, the circumstances and the degree of the offender’s guilt and any other relevant circumstances.”

Chelsea challenged their sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Etihad Stadium view
Image: Manchester City said it "accepts responsibility for the breaches"

City said the breaches arose after a "misinterpretation of the regulations in question", adding in a statement that they have been fully compliant since December 2016.

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Man City statement in full

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.

City, who are still currently under investigations from FIFA and UEFA with regards to financial fair play, were found to have breached article 19 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.

What does Article 19 say?

International transfers are only allowed if the player is over 18 - unless...
Player’s parents move to the buying club’s country for non-footballing reasons
Transfer is within EU or European Economic Area and player is between 16 and 18
They live in another country within 100km of the club

FIFA's statement added: "The protection of minors is a key element in FIFA's overall regulatory framework relating to the transfer of players, and the effective enforcement of these rules is paramount, as has also been confirmed on various occasions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport."

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