Alejandro Año Villalobos, a professional MMA fighter from Costa Rica, is showing a little man from the same small country, with a big fight ahead of him some very love. The Costa Rican fighter responded to the child’s request for a selfie and hashtag without delay.
Marianno “Nanno” Lugo is an 8 year old football player, residing in Barcelona, who is determined to get in the ear of the FIFA committee which is denying him the right to play in this season’s matches. The child’s parents were informed the first week of October that Nanno was ineligible to play in official matches per FIFA Article 19 Rule.
Nanno was immediately banned from official matches. He was told to sit out by the FC Barcelonista Club Anguera to avoid fines and or sanctions that FIFA can hand down to clubs who allow the “unlicensed” children to play. The child was enrolled in the club in June 2015 and was never informed of any issues until just last week. “It’s pretty incredible that after tryouts, weekly practices and even a 3-day training trip away from home the child is told he can’t play”, said Mark Lugo Nanno’s father and the team’s delegate. “The hardest part is telling your child ‘No, you still can’t play because FIFA still has not approved your license. What eight year old understands that?”, he added.
“The hardest part is telling your child ‘No, you still can’t play because FIFA still has not approved your license. What eight year old understands that?”
Early this year, Ben Lederman (14 years old), an American born child was forced to leave F.C. Barcelona’s La Masia training facilities and head back to California to continue his football training at IMG Academy. After nearly four years of training with the football giant Barcelona, Lederman was also told he could not play in Spain.
According to Tomas Desembre, President of Penya Barcelonistas Barcino, there are currently an estimated 900 children, between the ages of 6 and 16, who are being denied the right to play football by FIFA. Desembre spoke on a local radio show earlier this week about the matter and he is working with the Federation Catalana of Football (@FCF_CAT) to get as many players licensed by FIFA. However, the organization is moving very slowly. Meanwhile, the nearly a 1000 children are benched.