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Context of 'September 11, 2003: Cesc Fabregas Signs for Arsenal, One of Several Barcelona Youth Players to Move to England'

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Cesc Fabregas, who will go on to captain Arsenal for a number of years, joins the club from Barcelona’s youth team. He is 16 years old. [Arsenal, 2010] Fabregas is one of several Spanish players who leave their native country to join English football clubs at a young age; the moves are because English employment law allows 16-year-olds to sign contracts, whereas in Spain players can only sign when they are older (see October 10, 2007 and February 23, 2011).

Entity Tags: Arsenal F.C., FC Barcelona, Francesc Fabregas i Soler

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

FC Barcelona wins a £2.1 million lawsuit against Fran Merida, a player who left the football club when he was 16, later joining Arsenal FC. Merida is found not to have honored a pre-contractual agreement he had with the Catalan giants. Spanish clubs cannot sign youth players until they are 18, whereas clubs in England can sign 16-year-olds under British law, meaning that some Spanish players sign for English clubs on turning 16. [Daily Telegraph, 10/11/2007] Arsenal will decide not to appeal the ruling and pay the fine for Merida. Reportedly, this decision is taken to improve relations between the two clubs, which have been poor since a similar problem with Cesc Fabregas’s move to London in 2003. [Daily Mail, 10/31/2009]

Entity Tags: FC Barcelona, Arsenal F.C., Fran Merida

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

Arsenal FC signs Jon Miquel Toral Harper from Barcelona, a couple of weeks after his 16th birthday. Due to different employment laws in Spain and Britain, Arsenal can offer Toral a professional contract, although FC Barcelona cannot yet do so and cannot stop him from going to England. Toral is not the first 16-year-old to leave Barcelona for Arsenal; the best-known such transfer was that of current Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, who left Catalonia for London in 2003, when he was also 16. Barcelona president Sandro Rosell expresses the Catalans’ displeasure over the deal, calling it “legal but a little immoral.” [Guardian, 2/24/2011]

Entity Tags: FC Barcelona, Jon Miquel Toral Harper, Arsenal F.C., Sandro Rosell

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

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