FIFA has upheld its decision to ban Barcelona soccer club from signing new players for the whole of next year as punishment for breaching regulations relating to the transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.
The decision by soccer’s world governing body means the club will be unable to sign any new recruits in the next winter and summer transfer windows, starting in January 2015, meaning it has just 10 days while the current transfer window remains open to bring in any players it needs for its first team, reserves and youth squad for the whole of next year until January 2016.
FIFA’s Appeal Committee rejected the appeal made by Barcelona and the Spanish Soccer Federation (RFEF) in the case, which concerns irregularities in the transfers of international youngsters registered at the club who took part in tournaments with the team between 2009 and 2013. FIFA investigated the arrival of over 30 players, but has decided to sanction the club for irregularities in seven of the cases. The organization’s regulations state that international transfers are only permitted if the player is over the age of 18.
The club now has just 10 days to bring in any players it needs for the whole of next year
Barcelona representatives had on Tuesday traveled to Zurich where they held a four-hour face-to-face meeting with FIFA, only to see it reject its arguments and maintain the punishments – which also include a fine of 450,000 Swiss francs (€370,000) – the very next day.
Barcelona had in April managed to get FIFA to suspend the sanction for the current summer transfer window, given that it needed time to study the case.
The club says it will now appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, saying it cannot “in any way share a decision that attacks the spirit of our Masia [the club’s soccer academy], an example of academic, human and sporting training recognized around the world.”