FIFA suspends Barcelona transfer ban
ZURICH - Agence France-Presse
Barcelona’s superstar duo Lionel Messi (L) and Andres Iniesta celebrate a goal in this file photo. AFP PhotoFIFA on Wednesday suspended a ban on Barcelona signing players while the club makes an appeal against a 14-month transfer ban.
World football's governing body, which imposed the sanction this month for breaching rules on the registration of minors, announced in a statement that the ban would be temporarily suspended allowing Barca to sign players during the summer transfer window which opens on July 1.
The club welcomed the move.
"FC Barcelona sees the decision announced today by the FIFA Appeal Committee to provisionally allow the cautionary measures requested in the club's appeal against the sanction imposed by FIFA's Disciplinary Committee as a positive step," the club said in a statement.
The Spanish champions are in desperate need of an overhaul in the summer transfer window after a difficult season which is likely to see them miss out on a major trophy for the first time in six years.
Replacements are primarily needed for goalkeeper Victor Valdes and club captain Carles Puyol who have both announced their intention to leave the club at the end of the current campaign.
Barcelona has appealed against what would be a dramatic restriction on its operations and asked for the sanction to be suspended, the FIFA statement said.
FIFA Appeal Committee chairman Larry Mussenden agreed that the appeal meant the ban should be suspended.
Mussenden "took into consideration the sanctions imposed against the club, the complexity of the matter, the start date of the next registration period - 1 July 2014 - and the fact that the FIFA Appeal Committee does not seem in a position to take a decision on the main issue early enough so that an eventual appeal of the club against its decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport would still be decided before the beginning of the next registration period," said FIFA.
Mussenden "assures that proper and adequate appeal proceedings will take place and, at the same time, that all rights of the club will be respected." FIFA's disciplinary committee imposed the transfer ban on April 2 after finding Barcelona guilty of "serious" breaches of rules on under-age players.
It also fined the Spanish Football Association (RFEF) for allowing the deals.
The Spanish champions were given 90 days to regularise the situation of 10 minor players.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu described the ban as a "grave injustice" and insisted the club intend to make moves in the transfer market this summer.
There are two transfer windows in the 14 month ban, one starting in July and running to the start of the new Spanish season. The second would be in January 2015.
In 2010, FIFA imposed a similar transfer window ban against Chelsea over the signing of French youngster Gael Kakuta. It was overturned after Chelsea reached an agreement with the player's former club Lens.