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Real and Atletico Madrid hit with year-long transfer ban

A similar punishment handed out to Barcelona has recently ended.

Real Madrid have been hit with a one-year transfer ban.
Real Madrid have been hit with a one-year transfer ban.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

Updated at 17.47

REAL AND ATLETICO Madrid won’t be able to sign players for the next two transfer windows after the clubs were punished for breaching Fifa regulations.

With a similar ban for Barcelona having just ended, two more La Liga clubs have become embroiled in controversy for their allegedly illegal acquisition of underage players.

Both teams in question will be able to sign players up until the end of the current January Transfer window, but they won’t be able able to sign players for the next two windows, with the punishment set to last until summer 2017.

The news suggests Real’s hopes of landing high-profile targets in the near future, such as Man United’s David de Gea, could now be in jeopardy. They can still sell players during the transfer ban, however.

A statement on the matter from Fifa read as follows:

“The Fifa Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned Spanish clubs Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

“The two clubs were found to have violated several provisions concerning the international transfer and first registration of minor players as well as other relevant provisions with regard to the registration and participation of certain players in competitions.

“Both clubs are to serve a transfer ban that prevents them from registering any players at national and international level for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods for breaching articles 5, 9, 19 and 19bis as well as annexes 2 and 3 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (the “Regulations”). The transfer ban, which does not affect the current registration period at all, given that it opened before the decisions were notified, applies to each club as a whole – with the exception of the women’s, futsal and beach soccer teams – and does not prevent the release of players.

“Additionally, Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid have been fined CHF 900,000 and CHF 360,000 respectively, while both clubs have been issued with a reprimand and given 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned.

“The decisions, which were notified to the parties concerned today, were made based on the specific elements of each case. They follow investigations initially conducted by Fifa Transfer Matching System GmbH (Fifa TMS) and subsequently by the Fifa Disciplinary Committee as part of disciplinary proceedings. The investigations concerned minor players who were involved and participated in competitions with the clubs over various periods between 2007 and 2014 (Atlético de Madrid) and between 2005 and 2014 (Real Madrid).

“Fifa works hard to protect the rights of players under the age of 18 – whether male or female, amateur or professional. This is done through the enforcement of regulations prohibiting the international transfer of minors, or the first registration of minors in a country other than their own, except in specific circumstances (cf. art. 19 of the Regulations) that must be approved by the sub-committee appointed by the Players’ Status Committee. As such, the provisions relating to the protection of minors need to be strictly applied. This has been confirmed on various occasions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Opening up the door to exceptions beyond those carefully drafted and included in the Regulations would unavoidably lead to cases of circumvention of the rationale for these provisions.

“The web-based Transfer Matching System (TMS) provides a crucial platform to monitor the international transfer market, to ensure compliance with the rules, and to promote transparency and best practice.”

The ban follows a similar sanction handed to European champions Barcelona, who were unable to register new players during 2015.

Barca were initially banned in April 2014, but managed to delay the sanction taking affect until the transfer windows in January and the summer 2015 by launching an ultimately unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

By delaying the ban, Barca managed to sign the likes of Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic in the summer of 2014 to propel them to a treble of La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey.

The news is just the latest institutional embarassment for Real Madrid just over a week after they appointed French legend Zinedine Zidane.

Madrid have sacked two Champions League winning coaches in Carlo Ancelotti and Rafael Benitez in the past seven months, as well as being thrown out of the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player.

The sanction could also be bad news for the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, who had targeted Madrid stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale with Real highly unlikely to dispose of their best players without the chance to sign suitable replacements.

La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid’s usually hectic transfer policy will also be put on hold. However, Diego Simeone’s men look better placed to cope with the ban having invested heavily in young talent over the past year.

Both clubs have announced their intention to appeal the punishment.

Additional reporting by AFP

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Paul Fennessy

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