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SBD Global/August 21, 2014/International Football

Barça Transfer Ban Upheld By FIFA; Club Plans To Appeal To Court Of Arbitration For Sport

Barcelona has vowed to take its "fight to the Court of Arbitration for Sport" after FIFA on Wednesday rejected the club's appeal against "a one-year transfer embargo," according to Mark Cue of the LONDON TIMES. Barça will be "barred from making any signings until the January 2016 transfer window but can continue to sign players until the present window closes" on Sept. 2. The club has vowed to continue to "defend" its interests. FIFA said that Barcelona will be "prevented from registering any players at both national and international level for two complete and consecutive transfer periods, starting with the next registration period [January 2015]." Barcelona was found guilty of breaching FIFA's rules on "the transfer of players aged under 18 in April" (LONDON TIMES, 8/20). In London, Simon Rice reported the sanctions "will be a massive blow for the Spanish club as they look to compete" against domestic rivals Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid and on the European stage. Despite having made an "outlay in the region" of £115M ($191M) this summer following its failure to "land a single trophy last term, the Catalan club may be keen to do more business in the final few days of the current transfer window" before the ban comes into action (INDEPENDENT, 8/20).

BARCELONA REACTS: The BBC reported Barcelona said in a statement that the punishment was an "affront to the spirit" of "world renowned" youth academy La Masia, which is "regarded as being the foundation of the club's success in recent years." Players are instilled with a philosophy of "how the game should be played and many of the first team, such as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, have graduated from the academy." The club has also been ordered to pay a fine of £305,000 ($506,500) and been told by FIFA "to regularise" the situation of all minor players concerned (BBC, 8/20). In Barcelona, Francesc Perearnau wrote Barcelona "received FIFA's ruling with surprise and indignation" just 24 hours after presenting its appeal. It "appears that FIFA's decision was practically written and the decision made before the club even deployed its arguments on Tuesday" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 8/20). Messi said, "I am what I am thanks to Barcelona. ... I arrived as a boy and grew here. I adopted the values of La Masía. ... When I arrived, everything surprised me. It was very different than what I had seen in Rosario (Argentina). ... Being able to come here was great" (MARCA, 8/20). Barcelona's Javier Mascherano said, "Personally, the club, from what I experienced in these four years, has taken very good care of the kids at La Masia. This is what I could see" (EFE, 8/20).
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