Barca launch appeal against transfer ban

Barcelona should be able to bring in new players this summer after confirming they will appeal against a year-long transfer ban by FIFA for breaching rules on the trafficking of minors.

FIFA’s disciplinary committee has punished the Catalan club for breaking the rules in the case of 10 under-18 players, with a transfer embargo for two transfer windows and a fine of 450,000 Swiss francs (€367,000).

Barcelona have confirmed they will lodge an appeal, which is likely to be heard before the end of April, and if they lose that then to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Those court proceedings are not likely to take place until August, and the transfer embargo would be suspended until the final decision.

FIFA has also fined the Spanish FA has also been fined 500,000 Swiss francs (€410,000) for rule breaches in terms of registering the players.

The sanctions have highlighted disturbing practices of clubs scouring the world for young talent and taking children from their home countries in defiance of FIFA’s rules.

Barcelona currently have a trio of youth players from South Korea, including much-sought after 15-year-old striker Lee Seung Woo, plus other players from Africa.

FIFA only allows international youth transfers when one of three situations apply: the player’s parents have moved country for their own, non-related reasons; the move takes place within the European Union if a player is aged between 16 and 18; or the player’s home is less than 50 kilometres from the national border being crossed.

Barcelona’s expected appeal should allow the deals already agreed for Borussia Moenchengladbach keeper Marc-Andre ter Stergen and Croatian 17-year-old Alen Halilovic, who turns 18 in June, to go through.

The sanctions follow investigations conducted by FIFA’s transfer matching system officials into under-18 players who were registered and participated in competitions with the club between 2009 and 2013.

FIFA said in a statement: “FC Barcelona has been found to be in breach of article 19 of the regulations in the case of 10 minor players and to have committed several other concurrent infringements in the context of other players.

“The disciplinary committee regarded the infringements as serious and decided to sanction the club with a transfer ban at both national and international level for two complete and consecutive transfer periods, together with a fine of 450,000 Swiss francs.”

The Spanish FA, which violated article 19 of the regulations regarding the first registration of the players, has been given a period of one year in to “regularise their regulatory framework and existing system concerning the international transfer of minors in football”.

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