FIFA puts hold on Barcelona’s transfer ban, pending appeal
Barcelona will be able to sign players this summer after FIFA announced that the club’s transfer ban will be put on hold pending an appeal. The Catalan club had been given a transfer ban for two windows for breaching rules on signing minors from overseas.
Barcelona have appealed and FIFA has announced the ban will be suspended until the disciplinary process is completed.
A FIFA statement said: "The chairman of the FIFA appeal committee considered that the appeal lodged by the club is to be granted suspensive effect."
The Spanish champions were sanctioned by FIFA’s disciplinary committee on April 2 for breaking the rules in the case of 10 under-18 players and punished with a transfer embargo for two transfer windows and a fine of 450,000 Swiss francs (£305,000).
The world governing body has now said its appeal committee could not make decision in time to allow Barcelona to take a further appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport before the news transfer window opens.
FIFA’s statement added: "The chairman of the FIFA appeal committee, Larry Mussenden, took into consideration the sanctions imposed against the club, the complexity of the matter, the start date of the next registration period – 1 July 2014 – and the fact that the FIFA appeal committee does not seem in a position to take a decision on the main issue early enough so that an eventual appeal of the club against its decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport would still be decided before the beginning of the next registration period.
"Consequently, the chairman considered that the appeal lodged by the club is to be granted suspensive effect."
The sanctions imposed on Barcelona highlighted the 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 kilometers from the national border being crossed.
FIFA also fined the Spanish FA 500,000 Swiss francs (£340,000) for rule breaches in terms of registering the players.
The decision to suspend the transfer ban should allow the deals for Croatian 17-year-old Alen Halilovic, who turns 18 in June, and Borussia Moenchengladbach keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who has been heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp, to go through.
The sanctions were imposed following 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.