Not yet 18 and with limited legal capacity, but already a highly paid star? This could soon no longer be an exception in the Bundesliga. Borussia dortmund pushes for lowering the age limit in professional soccer.
"we currently have a big competitive disadvantage compared to other leagues and international competitions because we are not allowed to use very young players who have exceptional talent in the professional team in germany," said lars ricken, the former champions league winner and one-time young star of BVB.
ricken was commenting on a report in "bild" and "welt" that the german soccer league wants to lower the age limit at the professional level. Former Dortmund player nuri sahin could be replaced as the youngest player in Bundesliga history – and 15-year-old super talent youssoufa moukoko from BVB may soon make his debut in the top flight.
Coach julian nagelsmann of RB leipzig takes a very critical view of the plans: "off the top of my head, I’m not the biggest fan of it. There is a lot of complaining about the lack of development opportunities for leaders at player level. If I push the players up even earlier, they are exposed to even more pressure, are scrutinized even more."he sees no problem only with exceptional talents.
A rule change requires the approval of the DFL members’ meeting with the 36 clubs of the first division. And 2. League. BVB apparently intends to submit a proposal to this effect at the next meeting at the end of march. The DFL confirmed the basic decision-making process. According to the playing regulations, playing permission may also be granted to A juniors of the younger and older age groups and B juniors of the older age group after the age of 17. The youngsters will be well prepared for the professional game. The written consent of the legal guardian is required for minors.
"in principle, we believe it is expedient to give young players as much time as possible for their individual development. In exceptional cases, it can make sense to bring top talents up to the highest level at an earlier stage, as examples from abroad show," said joti chatzialexiou, sporting director national teams. In this respect, the DFB considers an opening in the area in the 1. And 2. league "justifiable".
"the 16-year-olds are further along today than we were at that age. The boys are well prepared for professional sport. And if they are that good, we should talk about it," said max eberl, sport director of borussia monchengladbach. "but we clubs have to handle this age very carefully."rouven schroder, the head of sports at mainz, is also in favor of lowering the age limit, but also called for a sensitive approach to the talents: "however, our pedagogical responsibility must be taken into account. So much is piling up on boys so young and inexperienced."
Moukoko is on 20. born on november 2004 and, under current rules, could make his professional debut in august 2021 at the earliest. He scored 26 goals in 21 games for dortmund’s U19 team. Sahin, now with werder bremen, made his debut in the 2005/06 season at the age of 16 years and 335 days. A rule change would enable the Bundesliga to compensate for its competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis other leagues. But it would also have the chance to position younger players on the market earlier than before.
Moukoko could theoretically play in the champions league at 16 – if he has a license for the bundesliga. At FC barcelona, ansu fati, who made his primera division debut last year at the age of 16 years, 9 months and 25 days, is currently causing a stir. romelu lukaku made his professional debut for RSC anderlecht at the age of 16 years, 3 months and 9 days. at 16 years, 5 months and 6 days, norwegian martin odegaard is the youngest player ever to play for real madrid. Austrian michael gregoritsch, now with schalke, played for second division club SV kapfenberg shortly before his 16. Birthday.
Ricken hopes for a positive vote: "unfortunately, there are currently several concrete examples of players deciding against the bundesliga because they are allowed to play in the professional team much earlier abroad," complained the 43-year-old.