Spezia Calcio to appeal FIFA ban for trafficking Nigerian minors

July 19 – American-owned Serie A club Spezia Calcio say they will  appeal against a two-year transfer ban imposed by FIFA based on  the previous owners breaking transfer rules by recruiting young players from Africa.

FIFA said the case involved the Italian club “bringing several Nigerian minors into Italy using a scheme aimed at circumventing (transfer of minor rules) as well as national immigration law.”

Spezia said the allegations date from 2013 to 2018, and the ongoing FIFA investigation was “not properly disclosed” when the Platek family bought the club in February during its first season in the top league.

The club pledged to appeal against the ban on registering new players – with the ban starting in January 2022 – and paying FIFA a fine of CHF 500,000.

“We are shocked by FIFA’s decision to hand our club this heavy transfer ban,” club president Phil Platek said in a statement.

“The new ownership group and myself had no role in any alleged transgressions and strongly condemn every system which includes the transfer of minors.”

“I cannot comment further on the matter due to the ongoing legal proceedings, but I would like to reassure our fans, declaring that we will appeal against this ruling and take appropriate measures to ensure that our team remains competitive in the years to come.”

Spezia’s turbulent week went from bad to worse when it was announced on Saturday that six more players had contracted coronavirus in addition to the one who tested positive last Thursday.

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