Barcelona to appeal transfer ban

The Catalans will appeal Fifa's ruling, announced on Wednesday, and outlined their defence
Barcelona have announced they will appeal the two-window transfer ban imposed by Fifa on Wednesday and disputed a number of the issues raised by football's governing body.

Fifa hit the Catalans with the sanction after an investigation alleged the club breached regulations relating to the acquisition and registration of foreign players under the age of 18, meaning they could not make any new signings in the summer and January 2015.

However, Barca issued a lengthy statement tonight in which they defended their conduct and outlined their determination to fight the ruling with Fifa and, if necessary, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

They have also requested that, while the appeal was ongoing, they could register new players.

Barca's defence centres on their insistence they are helping youngsters develop - both as footballers and personally - and that no civil law has been broken as the minors are legal residents within the country.

The Camp Nou club argue they "put people way before sportsmen which has not been considered by Fifa", and that "some of the players highlighted by Fifa have even been summoned by the Catalan Football Federation to participate in regional championships", insinuating that they are seen as citizens in the region.

Barca added they have requested Fifa change the rules on the protection of minors in football on numerous occasions and that their La Masia training centre has always been given glowing reviews by the governing body.

The Fifa investigation concerned several minor players who were registered and participated in competitions with the club over various periods between 2009 and 2013.

According to article 19 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, international transfers of players are only permitted if the player is over the age of 18, with the exception of three limited circumstances and such exceptions may only be granted after evaluation by the sub-committee of the Players’ Status Committee. 

With regard to the case in question, Barcelona have been found to be in breach of art. 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 Fifa Disciplinary Committee regarded the infringements as serious and, in addition to the transfer window bans, also fined the club CHF 450,000 (€369,000). 

Additionally, the club was granted a period of 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned. 

It's unknown as of yet what Fifa's sanctions mean for the summer transfer of Alen Halilovic, which Barcelona announced last week, and the potential signing of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Ter Stegen's agent Gerd vom Bruch fears the worst, however, telling SportBild: "If I have read the Fifa announcement in the right way, Marc-Andre's transfer [to Barcelona] will not be done in summer.

Meanwhile, the Fifa Disciplinary Committee has also sanctioned the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol (RFEF) for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

The Disciplinary Committee determined that the association had also violated art. 19 of the Regulations and other provisions in the context of the transfer and first registration of certain minor players. 

In this respect, the RFEF was sanctioned with a fine of CHF 500,000 (€410,000) and granted a period of one year in which to regularise their regulatory framework and existing system concerning the international transfer of minors in football. 

In addition, the RFEF and the club were issued with a reprimand in accordance with art. 14 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code.