A talented young footballer from a Yorkshire school has been shown the red card from playing in a local league – because she is Spanish.
Carmen Olmos, 14, a boarder at Fulneck School, Pudsey, Leeds, has been told she is not eligible to play for Wortley FC, because the Football Association cannot obtain “international clearance” for her. It has maintained its hands are tied by Fifa regulations and while she can play for the school, she is banned from teams playing in a competitive league.
Fulneck’s head of sport, Dave Needham, said: “Carmen is a fantastic footballer and is desperate to play in a competitive league. Not allowing her to play is plain crazy.”
After Carmen had trials at Wortley Girls FC, club officials wrote to the FA to check she would not need an International Transfer Certificate, as she was not registered with either a Spanish or English club.
Team secretary Robert Greaves revealed he had enlisted Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves for help, and added: “It seems to be a rule designed for professional clubs and it’s the same rule for everyone – which is not appropriate. You can see that if a club’s running an academy and looking after young players, they don’t want other clubs enticing them. But this is a girl who is at school in Leeds and wants to play football.”
Carmen said: “I really enjoyed the training, and the girls at the club were really helpful.
“They were a really good team so I’m gutted I can’t play.”
A Fifa spokesman said international transfers of registered players are only permitted if the player is over 18, with few exceptions.
The same rules also apply to the registration of foreign minor players who have never been previously registered, he added.