MADRID: Barcelona have been handed a fine of 300 euros (£270) by the Spanish Football Federation for the way the club handled the transfer of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.
France forward Griezmann joined Barcelona for 120million euros (£107.6million) earlier in the summer, signing a five-year deal. However, Atletico were determined to pursue Barcelona for an additional 80million euros (£71.7million) after claiming the fee received was “insufficient” to cover the player’s buyout clause.
Atletico believed the transfer was agreed before the 28-year-old’s buyout clause was reduced from 200million euros (£179.3million) on July 1. Griezmann had announced on May 14 he was going to be leaving Atletico.
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) revealed the findings of its competition committee on Thursday, stating Barcelona had made a “minor infringement” of the disciplinary code covering negotiations with their LaLiga rivals. However, in coming to the decision to hand out what is effectively only a token fine, the RFEF said a stadium ban would not have been appropriate.
“This committee is aware that the fine of 300 euros, besides the symbolic nature of it, won’t lead the sanctioned club and probably other clubs in the same situation in the future to follow the regulations,” the statement read. “But this isn’t sufficient reason for the committee to opt for another sanction – such as the proposed closure of the stadium – as that is for infractions of another nature.”
The judge’s ruling also cleared the player of any wrongdoing in the protracted saga. However, it was established that Barcelona had started negotiations with Griezmann’s representatives without having notified Atletico, albeit after the forward had made the Madrid club aware of his desire to move.
The RFEF statement added: “It is important to highlight that the contacts between FC Barcelona occurred once the player had manifested his intention to leave Atletico Madrid.” The clubs can appeal the decision. Griezmann has scored three goals in six LaLiga appearances for Barcelona so far this season, with the club fifth in the table – three points behind second-placed Atletico.