Atletico Madrid have lost an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a transfer ban imposed by FIFA, meaning they cannot register players until January 2018.
Diego Simeone's side, and rivals Real Madrid, were banned from signing players for two transfer windows for breaching the rules over the transfer of foreign players under the age of 18.
After losing their appeal to FIFA, Atletico served the first window of their ban in January 2017, having agreed to waive their right to suspend a FIFA transfer ban while they appealed the sanction to CAS.
But CAS' ruling, which Atletico say they strongly disagree with, means they are unable to add new players prior to the 2017-18 season and will now serve the second window of their ban.
"CAS has dismissed the appeal presented by Atletico de Madrid against the penalty imposed by FIFA's Disciplinary Committee on the case of registering players under age and that was ratified by FIFA's Appeal Committee, reducing the financial penalty, but maintaining the prohibition of registering licenses in the next transfer market period," Atletico said in a statement on Thursday.
MAN UTD’S GRIEZMANN HOPES TRASHED
The decision will affect the transfer plans of Atletico and other clubs. Antoine Griezmann has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, while the Spanish side will now not be able to land rumoured targets Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon and former star Diego Costa, currently at Chelsea, until next January at the earliest.
United were considered to be frontrunners to sign France international Griezmann following their Europa League win, with the promise of continuing to play Champions League football helping the Red Devils capture their target. However, this new jeopardises any chance of a transfer with Atleti now unable to sign a replacement.
COSTA & LACAZETTE TRANSFERS SHELVED
This has a knock-on effect on other clubs as well, with Lacazette previously saying that it was "the right moment" to leave Lyon. However, with Atletico Madrid now out of the running, his departure may be put on hold. Similarly, Diego Costa had been linked with a return to his former club, but the Chelsea striker no longer has this option due to the transfer ban.
The Spanish striker has been the subject of much speculation regarding a Stamford Bridge exit, with a move back to Atletico Madrid considered an extremely likely scenario. However, a return to La Liga is no longer an option in the short-term, leaving a possible transfer to the Chinese Super League a realistic option should Costa turn his back on Chelsea.