Spain breaks the law, and 16-year-old Lamine Yamal could result in a fine

The young Barcelona prodigy is at the center of a controversy for having played against Italy in Euro 2024.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 01:58, 24 Jun 2024

Present at Euro 2024 representing the Spanish national team, Lamine Yamal became the youngest player ever to participate in the final stage of the continental tournament at 16 years old, during the match against Croatia on the 15th.

However, according to Bild, "La Roja" may have violated German labor laws in their subsequent Group B match against Italy, placing the young winger at the center of controversy.

Under German labor regulations, minors are not allowed to work after 10 PM, whether they are German or foreign visitors. For athletes, this law extends to 11 PM. At first glance, the Spanish team appeared to comply with these rules, as Lamine Yamal, who started against the Italian side, left the field in the 71st minute, about half an hour before the curfew.

The issue raised by the German newspaper is that the Barcelona player remained at the stadium, which is considered his workplace. According to the rules, by 11 PM, Lamine Yamal should have left the field, showered, given interviews to journalists, fulfilled any football-related obligations, and headed back to the hotel, as all these tasks are considered work.

Although no sporting sanctions are at risk, the Spanish federation might face a fine of 30,000 euros for using Lamine Yamal. The problems don’t end there. Spain is set to play against Albania this Monday, with the match starting at 9 PM (8 PM in mainland Portugal). Therefore, coach Luis de la Fuente must decide what to do with the young prodigy and consider whether it's worth breaking the law again. So far, no German authority has addressed the issue.

The controversy surrounding Yamal's participation has sparked a broader debate on the application of labor laws to young athletes, particularly in international competitions where different countries' regulations might clash. This incident highlights the challenges teams and organizers face in ensuring compliance with local laws while also managing the practicalities of tournament schedules and player welfare.

In addition to the potential fine, this situation places added pressure on the Spanish Football Federation and the coaching staff to find a viable solution that both respects legal constraints and allows Yamal to contribute to the team's efforts in the tournament. The decision on whether to play him in the upcoming match against Albania will likely be scrutinized closely by both the media and regulatory bodies, setting a precedent for future cases involving young athletes in international sports events.

As the situation unfolds, it will be crucial for the Spanish team to navigate this legal minefield carefully, balancing their competitive ambitions with their responsibility to adhere to labor laws. The outcome of this case may also prompt a review of how labor laws are applied in the context of international sports, potentially leading to more clear-cut guidelines for the future.

Updated: 01:58, 24 Jun 2024