Barcelona should be able to sign new players this summer after confirming they will appeal against a year-long transfer ban by FIFA.
FIFA’s disciplinary committee has punished the club for breaching rules on the trafficking of minors, in particular the signing of 10 under-18 players. In addition to the transfer ban the club was hit with a fine of 450,000 Swiss francs.
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 (CAS).
If the case reaches CAS it is expected to be heard until August, resulting in the transfer embargo being suspended until the final verdict.
FIFA has also fined the Spanish FA has also been fined 500,000 Swiss francs for rule breaches in terms of registering the players.
The sanctions have exposed the increasingly common practises of clubs scouring the world for young talent and taking children from their home countries in contravention of FIFA’s rules.
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.
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”.