LAUSANNE: Barcelona cannot sign any new players in the coming year after the Court of Arbitration upheld a FIFA ban for football cradle-snatching writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The CAS has dismissed an appeal filed by the Catalan club and reinstated the ban imposed by the world federation for transgressing Article 19 of its player status regulations concerning the transfer of foreign players under 18.

The club has reacted by “dissatisfaction” with the decision and will await an assessment of the written judgment before deciding whether to proceed with a further appeal to the Swiss federal court.

A statement said: “FC Barcelona considers the sanction to be completely disproportionate as it supposes an excessive punishment for the club, when considering its trajectory and the circumstances of this specific case.”

Barcelona have also been ordered to pay the original fine of 450,000 Swiss francs (€375,000).

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu had hoped that, at the least, the punishment would be cut to one transfer window, instead of two, which would have covered ‘merely’ next month.

At least the club’s appeals against the original FIFA ban and appeal committee verdict allowed it to spend €170m on players this past summer including, most notably, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez from Liverpool.

In 2015 Barcelona may only offer professional contacts to their own youth and nursery club players.

CAS statement:

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by FC Barcelona against the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) regarding the decision issued by the FIFA Appeals Committee on 19 August 2014.

In such decision, the Spanish football club was sanctioned with a transfer ban for two periods, a fine of CHF 450,000 and a reprimand after it was found to have infringed the FIFA regulations with respect to the registration of a number of minor players.

In appealing to the CAS, FC Barcelona sought to annul the FIFA decision. The parties agreed to an expedited procedure and a hearing was held at the CAS headquarters on 5 December 2014 where the CAS Panel in charge of the matter (Prof. Petros Mavroidis, Greece, (President), Mr Efraim Barak, Israel, and Prof. Ulrich Haas, Germany) heard the parties, their representatives and their witnesses.

The Panel found in particular that FC Barcelona had breached the rules regarding the protection of minors and the registration of minors attending football academies (articles 19 and 19bis of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players). Accordingly, the FIFA decision is confirmed in full and the sanction remains in force.

In view of the need to issue a decision before the opening of the next transfer window, the Panel has issued its decision without the grounds. The full Arbitral Award, with the reasons for the Panel’s decision, will be issued as soon as possible.”

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