Players’ union launches petition to stop commodification of young players

The Malta Football Players Association launches online petition demanding the removal of compensation fees for children swapping nurseries

The players’ union has launched an online petition demanding an end to compensation fees for children who decide to change club.

“Children playing football in Malta are treated as financial commodities. A child is the club's property,” the Malta Football Players Association (MFPA) petition reads.

From the age of 12, players are officially registered with the Malta Football Association and if a player decides to move to another club, nurseries have a right for compensation.

However, the MFA has not set parameters and sometimes clubs have demanded compensation payments running into thousands of euros.

The so-called ‘nursery compensation fee’ which clubs demand starts at some €300 for every season spent at the nursery and many parents are concerned that this is driving children out of the game, especially if the parents or the new club are unable or unwilling to pay the fee.

Alternatively, players can de-register for 18 months and re-apply with a new club but many parents see this as counter-productive as it leads to children being unable to play competitive football for months.

The petition notes that even if the child is unhappy or is not playing regularly, the club is entitled to receive this compensation.

“Freedom comes at a price. This is called nursery compensation fee and is paid over and above the annual membership fee and the annual kit fee. Let's stop this. Our children are not for sale,” the petition reads.

Once players reach the age of twelve they become eligible to register on what is known as Form Q, provided that the child has the written permission of at least one of the parents or legal guardian.

At the end of the season when the player becomes ineligible to play in the U/15 competition, the player can register with a club on Form G. If the player decides to play for a new club, the previous club demands the compensation fee. 

After one year following the end of the season when the player is no longer eligible to play in U/15 competitions, players have the right to register with a new club without paying any compensation.