Platini backs Lazio over Macheda row

UEFA president Michel Platini has sympathised with Lazio president Claudio Lotito over Manchester United’s capture of 17-year-old man of the moment, Federico Macheda.

The United starlet made his debut off the bench in Sunday's dramatic 3-2 victory against Aston Villa, netting a spectacular injury-time goal to send Sir Alex Ferguson's side back to the top of the table.

However, the president of Macheda's former club, Lazio, has since hit out, slamming the transfer system for allowing the European Cup holders to sign the youngster for a reported fee of only £35,000, with Italian clubs unable to offer players professional deals until they turn 18.

And Platini has backed Lotito's plea to stop foreign clubs snapping up their talented youngsters up to the age of 18. “I have told the European Commission that we should ban the transfer of minors,” said Platini. “The first football contract that a player signs should be for the club that trains them.” Currently, players from EU countries are able to move to Britain on academy or scholarship contracts at the age of 16 and then can sign professional contracts a year later. But Platini believes this should no longer be allowed to take place. “You don’t need to leave at 15,” said the former France legend. “It’s to do with protecting social values, family values. There is no justification for buying them at 15, getting them over with their parents.” United are believed to have secured Macheda’s father a job with a UK-based security firm, but the Lazio president condemned this practice.

“They get the parents on board, giving them handsome compensation, offering them important jobs, which shouldn’t happen,” said Lotito. “It’s unthinkable that a club should give millions of euro to his parents, practically buying them. This is a real problem.” Platini’s attempts to block these type of moves in the future has received the backing of the European Club Association, players’ union FIFpro, FIFA and Europe’s leading football leagues.

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