Barcelona transfer ban is 'no coincidence' - vice-president

Javier Faus claims that allegations regarding recruitment practices at La Masia are further unwarranted attacks on the Catalan institution
Barcelona's economic vice-president Javier Faus believes the two-window transfer ban handed down by Fifa is a result of the latest attempt to erode the club's image.

The punishment follows evidence gathered by the world game's governing body suggesting Barca had breached rules on youth signings during the acquisition of 10 youngsters.

But Javier Faus told Radio 4, as reported by El Mundo Deportivo, that the Catalans will prove that the allegations are nothing more than the latest leg of a smear campaign against the club.

"Nothing that is happening is either a coincidence nor free," Faus stated. "Over the last five years Barca have been the victims of a series of accusations, such as doping and the aggression of our coaches such as Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.

"Now there is [Lionel] Messi [tax issues], now Neymar [signing controversy]... it isn't fortuitous. If Barca as an institution, along with the fans, aren't strong, then these things will do us harm. Our proposal is to move together. They try to erode the image of Barca but they won't be able to do that.

"As an institution we have said 'enough!'"

Faus continued by claiming that the club's success in recent years has resulted in outside forces wanting to bring the Barcelona name into disrepute.

"We are looking into what is behind this, and when we can show what it is, we will say. There are a lot of people who can't accept that Barca win everything and that we've been the leaders in world football for the past 10 years despite changes in coaches and directors. This doesn't assimilate well, but we won't sit here with our arms folded and the answer will be forceful, I guarantee you that."

The doubts placed over practices at La Masia were of particular issue for Faus, who was at pains to defend the world famous farmhouse's reputation.

"La Masia is a way of understanding football and it is lamentable that our academy has been brought into focus because no club around the world has invested as much as we have in development," he added. "The Fifa ruling is good for Asia and Latin America where investment funds take 100 players, keep one and leave the rest. But you cannot apply that to our system, where we develop people to become footballers.

"The children affected aren't playing but they continue to study and will continue their development. We will fight this, since you cannot tolerate such an attack on a world renowned model."

Barcelona said in a statement on Wednesday that they intend to contest Fifa's decision. They have 90 days to officially lodge an appeal.