Reigning La Liga champions FC Barcelona have released an official club statement in response to the announcement made by Fifa on Wednesday that it has banned the Catalan club from signing any new players for the next two transfer windows.
The statement reads as follows:
Following the sanctions imposed on FC Barcelona by the FIFA Disciplinary Commission as a result of the transfer and registration of players under the age of 18, FCB would like to make the following points:
1. According to the official statement made by FIFA, the Spanish Football Federation-RFEF – has also been sanctioned for international transfers of underage players.
2. The regulations which have allegedly been infringed are aimed at protecting underage players from clubs which sign youngsters without guaranteeing the educational, care and training rights – precisely those which FCB do develop under the Masia model.
3. The Masia model incorporates academic training, providing residence and pastoral care, as well as health care specifically for underage needs and sports development. FCB puts creating rounded people ahead of creating sportspeople, something which has not been taken into consideration by FIFA, which has applied sanctions criteria that ignores the nature of our training programme.
4. Every FCB player has always had his or her federation licences in order and up to date in line with the demands of the relevant federations. All of them at every moment.
5. Some of the players affected by the FIFA disciplinary action have in fact been called up by the Federació Catalana de Futbol to take part in Regional Championships representing the Catalan national team.
6. Since the moment that this FIFA investigation began, the federation licences of the players involved were withdrawn and they have not played in any further official games. There has this been no unregulated sporting participation on their part.
7. FC Barcelona has not failed to fulfil any civil legislation and all the underage players who are in their training centres are legal residents of the country.
8. Those players whose federation licences FIFA have annulled have been given the opportunity of staying at the Club, which despite their not being able to play, maintains its commitment to them in respect of their education, in order to avoid any social difficulties for them.
9. No FCB player is in any irregular civil situation with any administration.
10. For some time now and in various contexts, FCB has laid before FIFA the need to revise the regulations which are aimed at protecting underage players in order to make such protection more effective.
11. FCB’s training and educational model has always received specific recognition from FIFA and the Masia has always been used as a model of good practice.
12. Our candidates for the Ballon D’or are an example of the recognition by FIFA of the products of our academy system.
13. FCB’s academy system helps the families of many players to integrate and play a full social part in society.
14. In Catalonia alone it is estimated that there are 15,000 underage players born outside of Spain and registered with their federation who, according to the criteria used in this case by FIFA, would have to be considered to be in a similarly unauthorised state
For all of these abovementioned reasons, FCB will be presenting the corresponding appeal to FIFA and should it be necessary, take the resulting resolution to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 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.