MADRID: The Spanish league has come out in support of Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid after the two clubs were hit by a one-year transfer ban by world footall federation FIFA of breach of rules concerning the transfer if minors.

The oddity of the case was underlined when it was revealed by Real officials that four of the young players concerned are the sons of newly-prompted first team coach Zinedine Zidane.

A statement from the Spanish league said: “Spanish football, through their clubs, supports the policy of protecting minors, and the concern for their development and for their training [but] the conduct of Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid have been always supported the respect, interest, and training of the child.”

Barcelona were punished similarly two years ago and the league said that “the current regulation does not really protect child footballers.”

Real and Atletico have both rejected the verdicts and are likely to appeal first to FIFA and then to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This should, at the least, buy time while the clubs reassess their transfer strategies.

Real Madrid general director Jose Angel Sanchez said: “FIFA’s claims are so wrong that they absurdly sanction us for the signings of sons of the first team manager Zinedine Zidane.

“It is so wrong to lead to such an absurd situation, also like that of Ezequiel Garay’s brother.”

He added: “It appears FIFA made this decision back in July but we were not warned. We are confident that our appeal will be successful.”

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said: “We will appeal, we think we are right and I think this is unjust.”