Why Spain’s Young Star Can’t Play 90 Minutes at Euro 2024

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By 5mustsee.com

Becoming a consistent 90-minute player in high-level football is no small feat. It becomes even more challenging when it is actually against the law for you to stay on the field for that entire duration.

At only 16 years old, Lamine Yamal has already made history by representing Spain at Euro 2024, becoming the youngest player ever in the tournament’s history. His achievements include being Barcelona’s youngest debutant in over a century.

Spain’s teenage wonder Lamine Yamal is technically breaking Germany’s labour laws in late games at Euro 2024.
Spain’s teenage talent Lamine Yamal is technically violating Germany’s labor laws during late matches at Euro 2024.Credit: Getty

However, an unusual obstacle hinders his participation: Germany’s labor laws, aimed at protecting young workers, pose a challenge for Spain and could result in significant financial penalties simply for fielding one of their key players.

According to German law, minors are not permitted to work beyond 8 pm. Even though there’s a provision for athletes that extends this restriction until 11 pm, it still creates a complication for Yamal as a full match, including half-time and post-match obligations like media duties, would exceed the curfew.

During Spain’s recent round of 16 match against Georgia that started at 9 pm local time, Coach Luis de la Fuente risked a potential €30,000 ($48,160) fine for the Spanish federation (RFEF) by allowing Yamal to play the entire 90 minutes, breaching the legislation.

Fortunately, this won’t be an issue for their quarter-final with Germany in Stuttgart on Friday, scheduled to commence at 6 pm. Consequently, even in the case of a penalty shootout, Yamal won’t violate any rules by staying on the pitch.

The teenager became Barcelona’s youngest debutant in over a century last season.
Last season, the teenager made history as Barcelona’s youngest debutant in over a century.Credit: Getty

However, if Spain triumphs over Germany, the issue will resurface for their semi-final against Portugal or France, both set for a 9 pm kick-off, and also for the final. Despite turning 17 the day before, Yamal would still be considered a minor under German law.

It remains unclear if the law will be enforced and how severe the situation may become. Presumably, the RFEF would be willing to pay any fines to have Yamal play if it means winning the championship. If they progress all the way, the potential total penalty could reach up to €150,000.

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