Barcelona were banned from signing new players for two transfer windows on Wednesday by the ruling football body FIFA for violating rules relating to the transfer of minors.
A statement from FIFA said the disciplinary committee “has sanctioned the Spanish Football Association (RFEF) and Spanish club FC Barcelona for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.” An investigation was made by the FIFA Transfer Matching System, a FIFA subsidiary established to ensure all international transfers are carried out within the regulations, and subsequently referred to the disciplinary committee.
The investigation involved several players who were registers and took part in competitive games for the club from 2009—2013.
FIFA article 19 relating to transfers states players should only move internationally when aged 18 or over, with the exception of three limited circumstances which must first be evaluated by sub—committee of the FIFA players’ status committee.
Barcelona and the RFEF were deemed to have “violated several provisions of concerning the international transfer and first registration of non—Spanish minors with the club.” A minor is defined by FIFA as a player under the age of 18 years old.
FIFA say Barcelona breached article 19 in the case of 10 players, and committed several other offences in breach of an annexe to the regulations relating to other players.
The disciplinary committee said that while an international transfer can benefit a player’s career, it could also hurt them as a minor.
“The interest in protecting the appropriate and healthy development of a minor as a whole must prevail over purely sporting interests,” said the committee.
In addition to the transfer ban, which applies to both Spanish and international players, Barcelona have been fined 450,000 Swiss francs (508,900 dollars).
They have 90 days ensure all minor players at the club meet are in compliance with FIFA regulations.
The RFEF were fined 500,000 Swiss francs for breaching article 19 and given a year to change their system to meet the required regulations.