Over the last decade, the international governing body of association football, FIFA, has introduced new regulations for the registration of young players. The regulations are aimed at ‘protecting minors’ at being trafficked from developing countries to clubs based in the majority of cases in Europe. While strengthening control on the status of players as young as ten, the FIFA norms and their intersection with national and European norms have laid the legal basis for forms of institutional discrimination meted out to youth of immigrant background living in Europe. This paper emerges from a study on youth of immigrant background’s participation in Italian football. It uses the theoretical framework of Agamben’s analysis of Western democracies’ citizenship crisis to highlight the contradictions implicit in the Italian FA’s implementation of FIFA regulations in a scenario permeated by nationalistic values, which create different levels of participation according to the legal status of young people.