Clubs and associations in South America are increasingly concerned at the exodus of young players to Europe without any compensation being paid in return. The clubs, who produce the players, often see them slip from their grasp and end up empty-handed, despite their directors’ best efforts to avoid this situation. The most recent example occurred at Argentinean club Boca Juniors, which in the space of a few months lost two youth players who had been tripped as stars of the future.
One, Fernando Forestieri (age 16), moved to Genoa in Italy without prior notice and has now even made his debut for the Italian U_17 team. Another, Oscar Trejo (18), signed a contract with Spanish club Mallorca. Boca Juniors’ president Mauricio Macri, has also spoken of the worrying situation that occurred when a 12-year-old from the Boca boys’ team, Martin Acevedo, was approached by Athletico Madrid, as a result of which the player and his family moved to Spain. The parents concerned had used their authority (which is binding until a child turns 18) to withdraw their sons from the clubs in question. Macri had met with Acevedo’s parents in an attempt to dissuade them. “I’m very unhappy about this. The club works to train and prepare the boys and holds on to them in the hope that they will play in the first division one day, but they leave long before they have the chance to make their debuts. This is an extremely lucrative situation for player’s agents, however, who do very well out of it.”
Macri added that during the conversation he had had with Acevedo’s parents, he had said he was able to offer their son “education, affection and the opportunity to play for Boca, one of the greatest clubs in the world,” but no employment opportunities for his family. Boca’s youth team structure is very successful, but it is threatened by circumstances that are beyond its control. “If we carry on like this, the clubs that produce players will disappear and I wonder where the Europeans will start looking then. The truth is, I don’t know where we’re going,” he concluded.