Minors ‘Trafficked’ for Soccer Contracts

FIFA, the soccer world’s governing body, said it would investigate a BBC News report Monday that claims African soccer players as young as 14 had been illegally trafficked to Asia and forced to sign contracts. The investigation found there were six minors still with the Laos-based club Champasak United, which allegedly transported 23 minor players from West Africa to an unregistered football academy in February. Under FIFA regulations, it is prohibited to move players to a foreign club or academy until they are 18. Young players said they were forced to sleep on floors and never paid after signing a contract that promised salary and accommodation. A FIFA spokesman told the BBC the organization was in contact with “several member associations” and would “assess the matter and safeguard the interests of the minors.”