Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 3rd 2014 Contents A50
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, April 3, 2014
January 25 1928 to April 3rd 2011
Jackie and children - Cindy,
Robyn, Paolo and
Barcelona was banned by Fifa from signing any
new players for next season after being found guilty
yesterday of repeatedly breaching transfer regulations
regulations in signing youth players to its renowned
La Masia programme.
The Spanish club later announced that it would
appeal Fifa s decision. The heavy sanction, which
covers the summer and January transfer windows,
followed an investigation over the past year into
Barcelona s signing of players under the age of 18 from
2009 to 2013.
Fifa found the signing of ten unnamed players to
be in breach of its rules covering the protection of
minors. A fine of 450,000 Swiss francs (US$509,000)
was also imposed on Barcelona, which was given 90
days "to regularise the situation."
Barcelona released a 14-point rebuttal, vowing to
appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for
Sport if it did not succeed in reversing the decision
with Fifa and be allowed to sign during the transfer
"Ever since Fifa opened the case the players licenses
were canceled and they have not participated in any
official games," Barcelona said in a statement that
mostly pointed fingers at the Spanish and Catalan
football federation, along with Fifa, while defending
La Masia as "an example" of social responsibility in
educating young players on and off the field.
"These players have all been given the option to
remain with the club despite their licenses being
revoked," the statement added.
Football Federation fined
The Spanish Football Federation was also found by
the world governing body to have violated the rules
covering the registration of minors and fined 500,000
Swiss francs (US$565,500).
Barcelona said in February 2013 that Fifa had sent
a communication instructing it not to select six players
who are under 18 for its youth matches---South Korea s
Lee Seung Woo, Paik Seung-Ho and Jang Gyeolhee,
Theo Chendri of France, Nigerian-Dutchman Bobby
Adekanye and Patrice Sousia of Cameroon.
The international transfer of players under the age
of 18 can only go through if their parents move to the
country for non-football reasons. Players between 16
and 18 can move within Europe if certain standards
of education and living conditions are met.
The punishment, which prevents Barcelona from
signing any players until the summer of 2015, leaves
recent agreements with Borussia Monchengladbach
goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Croatian
teenager Alen Halilovic to join the club in July in limbo.
Barcelona has three working days to inform Fifa of
an intention to appeal and then a further week to pro-
Barcelona banned from signing new players
vide its reasons for challenging the punishment.
Premier League club Chelsea had a one-year transfer
embargo imposed after being found by Fifa to have
induced teenager Gael Kakuta to leave Lens, but it
was overturned in 2010 by the Court of Arbitration
Fifa tightened its rules on transferring minors in
2010, to help end what global players union FIFPro
described as the equivalent of "child trafficking." Fifa
sought to close loopholes which allowed clubs and
agents to bring youngsters to Europe on the promise
of getting a lucrative contract, only to abandon them
without a job or education.
Protection of minors
In the Barcelona case, Fifa stressed the "interest in
protecting the appropriate and healthy development
of a minor as a whole must prevail over purely sporting
"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," Fifa said in a
statement. "Above all, the committee highlighted that
while international transfers might, in specific cases,
be favorable to a young player s sporting career, they
are very likely to be contrary to the best interests of
the player as a minor."
Barcelona potentially needs to sign a
replacement goalkeeper, with Victor
Valdes out of contract at the end of the
season and ruled out for seven months
this week following knee surgery. Gerard
Pique is in need of an assured partner
in central defence with the impending
retirement of Carles Puyol.
The Fifa case threatens to further
damage the image of a Catalan football
institution that is owned by its members
and prides itself as being "more than a
club". It is currently grappling with the
fallout from last year s signing of the
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell
abruptly quit in January as he fights a
lawsuit alleging he misappropriated
funds by hiding the real cost of Neymar s
signing from Brazilian club Santos.
In February, Barcelona paid €13.55m
(then US$18.6 million) to Spanish tax
authorities to cover any potential irreg-
ularities over the transfer, while main-
taining its innocence of fraud charges.
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