Football

Football's invisible children

Published 6:16 AM ET, Tue July 17, 2012
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An academic study in 2009 estimated as many as 20,000 African boys are living on the streets of Europe after failing to secure contracts with European clubs following their trials. AFP/Getty Images
In the last six months the total income from 4,973 transfers around the globe was $576 million. Stars like Arsenal striker Robin van Persie dominate the transfer headlines but the bulk of football transfers go under the media's radar.
Clubs are constantly on the search for the next "Lionel Messi." The Argentine joined Barcelona from Newell's Old Boys in 2000 at the age of 13. AFP/Getty Images
Every professional player is required to possess a "sport passport" under FIFA regulations. But if a player is registered for the first time in Europe, confusion can arise because a federation there might not necessarily record the player's former clubs in South America or Africa. Paulo Teixeira
Sports agent Paulo Texeira has switched his attention from representing footballers to fighting training compensation claims for South American and African clubs. In his spare time he is a keen surfer.
Teixeira claims Italian club AC Milan owes Brazilian club Botafogo FC of Ribeirao Preto compensation involving its training of the player Sergio Ceregatti.
Milan and Belgian club Anderlecht have complained to FIFA about what they claim is Teixeira's "defamation and calumny." Getty Images
Training compensation is not just a matter for the European mega-clubs. Lowly Welsh team Aberyswyth Town had to wait over two years for a five-figure compensation payout from English side Shrewsbury Town after Tom Bradshaw became a professional.
In the Olivier Bernard case, the European Court ruled against Newcastle United in 2010 after a claim by the player's former French club Lyon, but cautioned that training-cost compensation is only acceptable if it reflects the accurate amount lost by the breach of contract. AFP/Getty Images
Argentine laywer Ariel Reck made a successful compensation claim regarding Franco di Santo. After transferring from Chilean club Audax Italiano to Chelsea in 2008, training fees were still owed to two Argentine teams. AFP/Getty Images
In a move to ensure the future rights of African clubs and players alike, Texeira has formed a partnership with the Samuel Eto'o Foundation to ensure care of the players enrolled at the Cameroon star's numerous football academies.