Barcelona transfer ban: Spanish giants banned from signing new players until summer 2015 - but it's nothing to do with Neymar

The ban spans over the summer transfer window and the 2015 January window after a breach of regulations regarding under-18 players

Barcelona have been given a transfer ban for the next two transfer windows for breaching transfer and registration rules, and have been fined 450,000 Swiss francs, Fifa has confirmed.

The suspension relates to the signings of 10 under-18 players, with the governing body confirming the ban is to do with “the international transfer of minors”.

The Catalan club has also been fined £306,000 and has been instructed by the world governing body “to regularize the situation of all minor players concerned.”

The Spanish FA has also been handed a 500,000 Swiss francs (£340,000) fine for rule breaches in terms of registering the players.

"FC Barcelona has been found to be in breach of article 19 of the regulations in the case of 10 minor players and to have committed several other concurrent infringements in the context of other players," a Fifa statement read.

 

"The disciplinary committee regarded the infringements as serious and decided to sanction the club with a transfer ban at both national and international level for two complete and consecutive transfer periods, together with a fine of 450,000 Swiss francs.

"Additionally, the club was granted a period of 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned."

Read more: Analysis - Why the exits of Valdes and Puyol could now make life very difficult
Wat caused Fifa to hand Barca a transfer ban?

The ruling comes after a Fifa investigation conducted by its transfer matching system officials who looked at under-18 players registered with the club during the period of 2009 and 2013, with rules stating that the international transfers of minors are only allowed under limited circumstances that have to be ratified by the players’ status committee at Fifa.

The statement went on to add: “The disciplinary committee emphasised that the protection of minors in the context of international transfers is an important social and legal issue that concerns all stakeholders in football.

“The committee highlighted that while international transfers might, in specific cases, be favourable to a young player's sporting career, they are very likely to be contrary to the best interests of the player as a minor.

“Young football players are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in a foreign country without the proper controls. This particular fact makes the protection of minors in football by the sport's governing bodies, especially by FIFA, even more important.”

The Spanish FA has been given a longer period by Fifa to get its affairs in order, with the statement declaring that they have one year to “regularise their regulatory framework and existing system concerning the international transfer of minors in football”.

17-year-old Alen Halilovic's summer move to Barcelona has now been put in doubt 17-year-old Alen Halilovic's summer move to Barcelona has now been put in doubt Barcelona only completed the signing of 17-year-old Croatian international Alen Halilovic last week, with the Dinamo Zagreb midfielder set to move to the reigning La Liga champions in the summer. They have also been linked with moves for Chelsea duo David Luiz and Thibault Coirtois, as well as Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, with the need to replace the outgoing Victor Valdes and Carlos Puyol.

Barcelona can – and most likely will – appeal the decision which would postpone the transfer ban until a decision is made, but the ruling has cast serious doubt over the proposed move of Halilovic and the reported interest in Borussia Monchengladbach stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who was expected to be named as Valdes’ successor at the Nou Camp.

Valdes to miss World Cup after suffering serious knee injury

Fifa rules state that an under-18 player can only complete an international transfer if one of these situations is complied with: the player's parents have moved country for their own, non-related reasons; the move takes place within the European Union if a player is aged between 16 and 18; or the player's home is less than 50 kilometres from the national border being crossed.

The La Liga club currently have three South Korean youth players on their books, including the highly-rated 15-year-old striker Lee Seung Woo, while they also have a number of African teenagers playing for the club.

Victor Valdes suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in the 3-0 win over Celta Vigo Victor Valdes suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in the 3-0 win over Celta Vigo Valdes has already announced his intention to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season, but his Barcelona career was unexpectedly and sadly cut short when he suffered anterior knee ligament damage in the 3-0 victory over Celta Vigo last week.

The club confirmed that he underwent successful surgery this week, and will be out of action for at least seven months. Even if he performs a U-turn and decides to stay at the Nou Camp, he will likely be unavailable until the end of the year.

“The knee's internal cartilage has been sewn up and the operation was concluded successfully,” read a Barcelona statement on Monday.

Barcelona make voluntary €13.5m tax payment over Neymar deal

Puyol has also confirmed he will bring the curtain down on his Barcelona career at the end of the season, sighting persistent knee injuries as the reasoning behind his decision. The veteran centre-back, who joined the club in 1999 from the academy, no longer feels he can compete at the highest level, leaving Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Marc Bartra as the current centre-back’s available to Gerardo Martino. Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song is also able to cover in defence if needed.

Barcelona, who can still secure a league, cup and Champions League treble, saw Pique ruled out for at least four weeks late last night after suffering a hairline fracture in his pelvis in the 1-1 quarter-final first leg draw with Atletico Madrid.

Pique broke down in the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid after suffering a hairline fracture in his pelvis Pique broke down in the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid after suffering a hairline fracture in his pelvis The sanction is another blemish on the club’s reputation – whose owning members pride themselves on being “more than a club” – following the alarming irregularities that blighted the summer transfer of Neymar from Brazilian side Santos.

Originally thought to have cost the club £48.6m, then-club president Sandro Rosell resigned in January after allegations emerged that he had misappropriated money in attempts to avoid paying £7.58m in tax on a deal that appears to have cost over £71m – making Neymar the third-most expensive player in history.

Like Barcelona, several Premier League clubs have recruited from abroad to strengthen their academies. Arsenal have nine different nationalities, four of which come from outside the EU, while Manchester City have sought to model their academy set-up on Barcelona with former Barcelona director of football Txiki Begiristain and vice-president Ferran Soriano now at the Etihad.

Read More: Barcelona 1 Atletico Madrid 1 match report
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015