You may remember (YOU SHOULD ANYWAY) the petition Seattle-area club Crossfire brought forth to FIFA in an effort to generate compensation for DeAndre Yedlin’s sale to Spurs. It’s a seminal moment in youth soccer development in America. The trickle-down effect these sales have on lower clubs can ultimately help break the shackles of pay-to-play. At the very least, they’ll lower costs while the money begins is slow filter downward.
As it is, MLS doesn’t reward clubs with compensation. But what does that look like practically in places that do? We got a tangible taste of that this week when Pedro was sold from Barcelona to Chelsea for £23m. And it was glorious.
Before joining Barcelona’s academy in 2004, when he was 17, Pedro spent the entirety of his youth career developing at small CD San Isidro in the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa. While Pedro undoubtedly did a lion’s share of his professional growth at Barcelona, CDSI laid the groundwork at the youth level. Keep that in mind.
This week, Chelsea landed Pedro, who was clearly on the outs at Barca with the Neymar-Messi-Suarez trio up top hogging the majority of the playing time. That was the macro story. As for the micro story, FIFA’s training and solidarity mechanism kicked in once the sale was complete, which takes a small chunk of the transfer and sets it aside for solidarity payment to the youth club(s) that brought him along.
In Pedro’s case, that was cash-strapped San Isidro, which competes in Spain’s fifth tier. The club had slowly been eliminating hundreds of thousands of Euros of debt under money-conscious president Jaime Lorenzo, but €22,000 of it remained, in addition to another loan. Thanks to solidarity, San Isidro pocketed £320,000 from Pedro’s sale, allowing it to totally wipe out its debt, jump firmly into the black and avoid the lingering possibility of liquidation.
Stories like these prove the system works when used correctly. Crossfire’s solidarity payment from the Yedlin sale would obviously be a mere fraction of that number, but how much could a club that requires pay-to-play to survive do with the $64,000 or so it would’ve made? And how much more incentive would that provide toward identifying and developing future top professionals?
This news throws even more kindling onto the growing fire surrounding compensation payment in America’s top clubs.