Spanish giant Barcelona were handed a transfer ban due to breaking the rules surrounding the signing of under-18 players. The team followed through with their plan to challenge the ruling and vowed to take the appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if they lose the initial review by FIFA.
Therefore, FIFA lifted the transfer ban due to the complexity of the case and the expected timeline to come to a resolution. Given that this is FIFA and their rulings have been questioned, along with the fact this deals with one of the top five most valuable clubs in soccer, this ruling comes as no surprise.
Barcelona is one of the most high-profile teams in La Liga and also for FIFA. They have a global appeal. They bring in a lot of money, so they are a special case. Lower-division clubs like the Spanish lower-tier side Cadiz and Denmark’s Midtjylland have seen appeals to CAS denied. However, Chelsea won a ruling on the case of Gael Kakuta. Chelsea had to pay compensation to his former team, but do you think that would be a problem for Barcelona?
FIFA’s idea of fairness often comes with the financial bottom line in mind. Having Barcelona involved in the transfer window is good for business. How convenient is it that the appeal process will take longer than four months to resolve?
Suspending the ban means that Barcelona will be able to sign players starting on July 1. This also means that players can leave the team without hassle. Barcelona has long been linked to German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Croatia star Alen Halilovic. These will not be the only players heading to Barcelona as management has mentioned a €120 million war chest. For instance, Dortmund playmaker Ilkay Gundogan has been reported as a target.
Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes are probably on the way out. Xavi has been rumored to move to MLS. A replacement for Dani Alves has been discussed. Jose Manuel Pinto has not been offered a contract, although the veteran keeper would be willing to stay.
The original ban was due to what FIFA stated as exploitation and trafficking of minors that happened in at least 10 cases. Barcelona’s initial appeal stems from what they said FIFA has not considered: they create upstanding citizens before players at their La Masia academy and lead them through an educational process.
Given the strong statements initially released by FIFA, it would seem strange to most that they are now taking their time to resolve the appeal. However, the history of corruption makes that last statement irrelevant.
It was widely known that Barcelona needed a team shake-up. They have a lot of money to spend and will do so now that the transfer ban is lifted. Given their worldwide appeal and the amount of money they can throw around, this is no surprise. Do not try to look into these proceedings by breaking it down piece by piece.