Real Madrid are adamant they have fully complied with Fifa rules despite world football’s governing body opening an investigation against them over the acquisition of several foreign players under the age of 18.
Fifa have requested information from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on all of the under-age players representing the Spanish giants as well as clubs which have collaborations with the Champions League holders.
The governing body’s investigation is centred on the signing of 51 players, but Madrid have released a lengthy statement protesting their innocence and insisting they have not broken any such rules with regards to any under-age players.
“Real Madrid defends the protection and the correct and healthy development of minors via its strict adherence, without exceptions, to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, and is in complete agreement with such investigations being carried out to this end,” the statement read.
“Real Madrid have responded diligently, supplying all the information required by the Committee within the established deadlines and in complete documentary detail.
“Both Real Madrid and the RFEF, through which the informative investigation is being processed, have been left totally satisfied with the information supplied and have verified the strict adherence to the registration regulations in absolutely every case.”
Madrid provided a breakdown of the 51 players Fifa had requested information on. The club said 23 had previously been registered to other Spanish clubs and another 10 were of Spanish nationality. One player appeared twice on the list, six were over 18 at the time of registration, two under-age players had received authorisation and another two had been registered before the current rules came into effect.
Two of the players had been rejected and are were never part of the club, the registration of another is currently pending a final resolution from CAS and four under-12 players had been signed in compliance with the new regulations.
Barcelona were handed a two window transfer ban for irregularities in their acquisitions of young players last year, a ban which was upheld following appeal, but Madrid director Emilio Botragueno quickly dismissed any possibility of the club receiving such a ban.
Madrid, usually quiet in the January window, have been busy in the transfer market this time around, bringing in 16-year-olds Mink Martin Peeters and Martin Odegaard, 19-year-old Spanish winger Marco Asensio and Brazilian midfielder Lucas Silva, while deals for 18-year-old River Plate goalkeeper Augusto Batalla and 16-year-old AC Milan attacker Hachim Mastour are also close.
When contacted by Goal earlier on Monday, Fifa admitted an investigation was ongoing but refused to expand on the finer details, adding: “No formal disciplinary proceedings have been opened at this stage. No further information can be provided for the time being.”