Barcelona have been banned by Fifa from signing players for the next two transfer periods (summer 2014 and January 2015) for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.
The sanction follows investigations initially conducted by Fifa Transfer Matching System (Fifa TMS) over the course of last year and subsequently by the Fifa Disciplinary Committee as part of disciplinary proceedings.
Barcelona were found to have violated several provisions concerning the international transfer and first registration of non-Spanish minors with the club, as well as other relevant regulations with regard to the registration and participation of certain players in national competitions.
The investigations 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 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 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.
Meanwhile, the Fifa Disciplinary Committee has 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.