Barcelona have announced they will appeal against the year-long transfer ban imposed on them by FIFA for breaching the governing body’s rules on the transfer of players aged under 18.
The Spanish champions were sanctioned on Wednesday by FIFA’s disciplinary committee for breaking the rules in the case of 10 under-18 players and been punished with a transfer embargo for two transfer windows and a fine of 450,000 Swiss francs (Â£305,000).
Barca confirmed in a statement on Wednesday evening they would be appealing against the ban.
The statement read: “The club will lodge an appeal to FIFA and where necessary will submit the appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).”
In the lengthy statement, which included 14 points in response to FIFA’s ruling as the basis for their appeal, the Spanish champions added: ” FCB will also demand the relevant interim measures needed to preserve the club’s rights, amongst which are those allowing it to sign players in transfer windows.”
Appeals rules should mean Barca will still be able to bring in players this summer, including the arrival of Croatian Alen Halilovic, who turns 18 in June, and Borussia Monchengladbach keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who has been heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp,.
Barca’s appeal to FIFA is likely to be heard before the end of April, and if they then go to CAS those court proceedings would not likely take place until August, and the transfer embargo would be suspended until the final decision.
FIFA also fined the Spanish FA 500,000 Swiss francs (Â£340,000) for rule breaches in terms of registering the players.
The sanctions have highlighted the practices of clubs scouring the world for young talent and taking children from their home countries in defiance of FIFA’s rules.
Barca 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.
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.
”Additionally, the club was granted a period of 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned.
”The committee highlighted that while international transfers might, in specific cases, be favourable to a young player’s sporting career, they are very likely to be contrary to the best interests of the player as a minor.
”Young football players are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in a foreign country without the proper controls. This particular fact makes the protection of minors in football by the sport’s governing bodies, especially by FIFA, even more important.”