Fifa has imposed a transfer ban on Spanish giants Barcelona for two transfer windows because of a breach of rules relating to “the international transfer of minors.
The La Liga champions cannot buy or sell players until the summer of 2015 but could file an appeal against the decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sports (Cas).
They have also been fined 450,000 Swiss Francs (305, 000 British pounds) by the world football’s governing body.
International transfer of players are only permitted if a player is over 18- unless the player in question meets one of the three qualifying criteria.
However, the Catalans signed some players in an irregular situation last year from around the world. They have a trio of youth players (age ranging from 14-15) from South Korea including the much sought after striker Lee Seung Woo, 15, plus other players from Africa.
Fifa only allows international youth transfers when one of three situations apply: the player’s parent have moved country for their own interest, not related to the player’s; 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 50km from the national border being crossed.
A Fifa investigation -centred on several players aged under 18 who were registered and played for the club between 2009 and 2013- found that Barcelona and the RFEF were guilty of a “serious” infringement of the rules in relation to ten players.
The identity of the players in question have not been disclosed but Fifa is believed to be acting in the best interest of young players.
Barca have already agreed for Borussia Monchengladbach keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Croatian 17-year-old Alen Halilovic, but would only carry one with the deals only if they win an appeal- which could well be on the line.
Chelsea were hit with a two-window ban by FIFA in 2010, but won an appeal at the Cas.
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has been sanctioned by Fifa for the same breaches.
The RFEF has been given a fine of 500,000 Swiss Francs (£340,000) and told to “regularise its framework and existing system concerning the international transfer of minors in football” within a year.