Sport: International Clearance

Posted: May 15, 2010 in News Stories

11, Dec. 2009

It could be said that the story of a 17 year boy from Sydney attaining a youth scholarship at British Championship football club Preston North End wouldn’t rate too highly as a most-read football story within the sports pages this week.

However, the stories of Cameron Parrish and friend, potential Aston Villa youth player, Reece Caira flags up a serious dispute between prospective Australian footballers, their families and the Football Federation of Australia.

Director of Youth Football at PNE, Dean Ramsdale describes the general feeling toward the struggle: “It’s has been time consuming, not just from our (at PNE) point of view, but it has been a costly one for Cameron’s parents, they’ve come across from Australia.  It’s a big thing when you’re worrying about getting international clearance for your son to play.”

There are wider consequences of this story for Australian footballers of the future, the FFA have made clear their aim to tighten up on transfers of young talent.

The FFA is, clearly, acting under guidelines handed to them by FIFA, one of those rights involves them withholding player’s registration and international transfer certificate, which is integral to any international football transfer.

The premise of this retainment, under FIFA law, concerns players under the age of 18 being disallowed from moving abroad specifically for football purposes.

Cameron Parish’s father, Mick Parrish, undertook his own research when awaiting the outcome of Cameron’s application: “We found out that the ruling to stop players training internationally (by FIFA) is really designed to stop young African’s being taken by agents into Belgium.  Once their training, or whatever agreement they had was finished they were left and the agents wiped their hands off them.  Now, the FFA has made use of that ruling to stop youth players coming over to England.”

Like Cameron and his family, some young football starlets have managed to find a loophole, allowing parents to move with their children so long as they’re primary reason is not involved with the sport.

The FFA has begun its attack on this practice, but has failed to take into account that the best footballing countries in the world are training their starlets younger than our country has so far.

It can also be said that our current national players, such as Rhys Williams and Harry Kewell, would not have developed so well if it weren’t for English academies and full-time training under some of the best youth coaches in the world.

Dean Ramsdale explains: “Obviously, you will have youths in Spain that want to play at Real Madrid and Barcelona, in Turkey they seem to like the idea of playing at Galatasaray, I think a lot of Australian boys want to come and play in England.”

Mick Parrish encourages Cameron’s interest in playing for an English team as he believes that Australian elite youth training isn’t up to scratch.

Many parents of youth players dealing with situations such as this no longer bare good feeling toward the FFA, Mick adds: “They want to keep as as many players in Australia as they can, regardless of whether they had positions for them or opportunities for them or not, they don’t care.  They are blocking the best players like my friend’s son Reece Caira who has been trying to get his clearance since January to play at Aston Villa.”

The FFA were contacted for comment on this article and released the following background information: “The processing the ITC’s of minors is now through the FIFA Transfer Matching System (TMS). This was introduced on 1 October 2009. The effect of this is that National Associations are still responsible for Accepting or Rejecting the request but FIFA still act the intermediary, who can view all the information and have the final say in the matter.”

It can be said that holding back budding stars such as Caira will not help Australia’s future prospects in the world of football.

Dean Ramsdale explains: The pathways aren’t as easy over in Australia as they, perhaps, are over here.  I am just so happy for both boys that they’ve got their international clearance through, I mean you feel sorry for boys currently that are in the system with Premier League clubs and the championship clubs who haven’t yet got their clearance, I hope that will happen for them soon.”

With luck, Cameron may now have the chance to follow in the footsteps of our Joe Marston who ran out near 200 times for PNE in the ‘50’s.

Cameron, who’s standard of football for a short time had declined while waiting so long for clearance spoke to PNE online this week of his frustrations as follows:  “I’ve been here for five months now and it’s been frustrating training every day and not having anything to look forward to at the end of the week, but it’s good to have my first game against Burnley this weekend which should be good, I can’t wait.”

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