Football is being used as a vehicle for human trafficking, with at least 4,000 young players illegally shipped from Africa to Europe to pursue dreams of a career in the game.
Foot Solidaire, a French organisation that works to protect young footballers from exploitation, said it is dealing with at least 20 new cases each week and has called on Fifa to act. Parents are spending thousands of pounds to send their sons to Europe in the hope they will earn lucrative contracts, but the teenagers are then abandoned on the street.
In a special TV report shown on Sky Sports News last night, a Fifa-licensed agent in Cameroon was exposed offering to sell 14- and 15-year-olds for £25,000. A Fifa statement said: “Should any evidence be made available of any wrongdoing or abuse of Fifa’s regulations, we would naturally support any investigation.”