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OPINION: Bayern Munich Sign 13-Year-Old Footballer – More Should Be Done To Protect Young Footballers

Just over a week ago, Bayern Munich announced the signing of 13-year-old Mike Wisdom from Borussia Monchengladbach for a total fee of €300,000.

Monchengladbach will receive €20,000 from the sale of the teenager with the rest of the funds going to the family of the player.

Wisdom will arrive at the club at the start of next season to play for Bayern Munich’s under 15s team, €300,000 for a player who is years away from playing professional football is outrageous and Gladbach’s Sporting Director, Roland Virkus stated, “Such deals are anything but useful for German youth football, I think it’s distasteful.”

The Ghanaian, who was born in 2008, will reportedly earn €400 when in the under 15s set up and once in the under 16s set up, could potentially earn up to €3000 a month.

This deal is very similar to one of six years ago when Manchester City spent £170,000 on teenager Finley Burns from Southend United, but is it fair on the young players?

First, with money comes a lot of pressure. There’s plenty of professional footballers who haven’t lived up to their price which arguably could be down to the money spent on them. Is it fair that this pressure falls on the shoulders of a teenager? No young player should even have money on their mind when it comes to playing football at such a young age, only the football that they play.

Education is also another factor to worry about when it comes to teenagers. There is already pressure with education never mind carrying a hefty price tag on your shoulders. That price tag could influence the attitude to life, when being signed to one of the best teams in the world, education may not perhaps become as important to the player when education should be the priority for teenagers.

Also, what does a big move do to the mental health of a player? Relocation is a massive factor to take in when transferring clubs and it’s an extremely big ask for teenagers to be happy moving locations which could possibly see them move away from friends and family. This could lead to the players being unsettled and homesick, affecting their mental state.

With relocation also comes parents/carers having to move, what about their jobs? What about their lives? It’s a huge sacrifice for the parents/carers of the situation. A lot of the time, like Wisdom’s situation, the parents/carers get given a good fortune which could change the family’s life with benefits such as accommodation and other benefits, which is great but is it fair on the family?

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To protect young footballers, governing bodies should introduce a cap on players before being able to pay for them. This could be dependant on their age, so a transfer could only be paid for players over the age of 18, or there could be an introduction of players playing a certain number of professional games before being transferred for money.

If these laws were to be introduced, would they protect younger players?

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