Is Arsenal's Galindo a Victim of Bad-Minded Bolivian TV in Age Scandal?

Mary O'SheaSenior Writer IJanuary 19, 2010

It came as a shock to Everton and David Moyes but not to the rest of the world when Arsene Wenger snapped up another young prodigy last week in the form of Bolivian wonder kid Samuel Galindo from Real America.

The midfielder is highly regarded in his home country to such an extent that he is Captain of his country's youth side at just 17.

However, this morning rumours started to circulate around Arsenal blogs that all was not as it seemed.

Bolivian television network El Deportivo TV claimed to have documents that proved Galindo was 20 and not 17 as he claimed.

Publishing what they claim is his real passport, El Deportivo claimed Galindo was entered in the recent U17 World Cup under a false passport.

The start of this tournament saw Nigeria lose 11 players before a ball was kicked as their players failed bone density tests to determine their real age.

The document which El Deportivo claim is the starlet's real passport is shown above.

It states that Galindo was born in 1989 and not 1992 as claimed.

Damning evidence, if you believe it!

A close look at the photograph points to this being nothing but a computer editing job.

General passport requirements include:

The photograph should show a full front view of the subject’s head, as he or she would normally appear.

The image must be sharp and clear, and taken against a plain white or light grey  background.

Clearly Galindo's "passport" fail both these requirements.

He is looking sideways, where only one ear is showing. Furthermore, the shot is taking against a red background, not against the required white background.

Were it true that Galindo has been operating under a false passport, then the punishment should and would be severe. Forging an official document can lead to severe penalties including jail.

It would also jeopardise his impending move to Arsenal. The deal will be completed subject to a work permit or impending work permit.

However, if Galindo is the victim of Bolivian TV and the need for a story then they must face huge sanctions.

They could possibly ruin a young player's chance to play in one of the biggest leagues in the world.

The truth is sure to come out in the wash.

Either Bolivia don't adhere to standard passport requirements or Bolivian TV have a lot to answer for.

Rumours have constantly surrounded the likes of Obafemi Martins and Kanu regarding their age, it is a weight Galindo could well do without this early in his career.