Barcelona hit with transfer ban
The Spanish giants Barcelona have been handed a transfer ban by FIFA based on their alleged infractions on international transfers of players under the age of 18.
April 2nd, 2014
Having agreed to sign 17-year-old Alen Halilovic from Dinamo Zagreb and rumoured to be in talks to replace outgoing goalkeeper Victor Valdes with Dortmund’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the club has broken express FIFA laws which prevent the transfers of youngsters across national borders.
Barca, who are currently second in La Liga and attempting to defend last season’s title, have been given a 14-month transfer ban for the signing of 10 minors between 2009-2013, each of whom has turned out for the club in some official capacity.
The ban, which extends until the end of next season, comes in addition to a fine of over £300,000 – an even larger fine has also been levied on the Spanish Football Federation, RFEF.
Valdes has confirmed that he is to leave the Catalan club when his contract expires, but this ban comes as Barca attempt to rebuild a team which has stuttered in places this season and is said by some to be in need of fresh blood – which thanks to this ban will not appear in time for next season. It also follows a dispute over tax evasion following the £50m purchase of Brazilian striker Neymar, for which a criminal investigation is in process.
FIFA’s rules stipulate that players under 18 cannot make foreign switches unless their parents move to that country for non-footballing reasons, or they live within 100km of the new club’s base.
The RFEF was ordered to “regularise its regulatory framework and existing system concerning the international transfer of minors in football”.
As for Barca, “[t]he committee highlighted that while international transfers might, in specific cases, be favourable to a young player’s sporting career, they are very likely to be contrary to the best interests of the player as a minor.”