LAUSANNE: Real Madrid have scored what the club will consider a significant ‘victory’ in persuading the Court of Arbitration for Sport to cut the club’s transfers ban from two windows to one writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Madrid, European and newly-crowned world club champions, welcomed the ruling while regretting that the sole arbitrator did not have the “courage” to scrap the punishment in its entirely.

The major Spanish clubs and the national association have fallen foul over the past few years of world federation FIFA’s regulations about the transfers of minors in the attempt to crack down on exploitation of youngsters from South America and, in particular, Africa.

Barcelona had to endure a two-window ban which was the punishment also then meted out this past summer to Real and Atletico de Madrid. The Spanish federation has also been fined and reprimanded for failing in its regulatory duties.

Real appealed to CAS in September and FIFA agreed to an expedited procedure before a sole arbitrator, Switzerland’s Michele Bernasconi. The hearing was staged in Lausanne on December 14.

The subsequent ruling means, apparently, that Madrid cannot make any signings during the January transfer window but will be free to spend as they wish in the far more important window next summer.

Their fine has also been trimmed from CHF 360,000 to CHF 240,000.

A CAS statement said: “In essence, the sole arbitrator found that some of the rule violations alleged by FIFA could be upheld, but not all of them.

“Considering that the infractions committed by Real Madrid CF were less serious and less numerous than argued by the FIFA judiciary bodies, the sole arbitrator ruled that the sanctions imposed on Real Madrid CF had to be reduced.”