The central objectives of this paper are: i) to explore some of the implications of three issues that are to be found within the White Paper on Sport, namely, the protection of minors, free movement of players and the education and welfare of young athletes; and ii) to reflect upon the ways in which, and extent to which, the recommendations the European Commission makes in these areas may come to impact on the future welfare and employment and human rights of young people working in professional football Academies and Centres of Excellence (CoE) in England. In this regard, it is argued that, insofar as the Commission retains a commitment to ensuring the free movement of players and abolishing discrimination on the basis of nationality, this may do more to limit, than encourage, the willingness of professional football clubs to develop more young talented English players in their Academies and CoE. It is also suggested that while the White Paper places particular importance on implementing a range of strategies to tackle the abuse of young athletes and to protect the welfare of young people by, amongst other things, enhancing their education and training, in the context of professional football the efficacy of those strategies in bringing about desired change in young people's lives may be significantly constrained by the prevailing subcultures and values that surround the sport.
|International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
|Published - 2009