December 21 – In what FIFA will surely consider a blow to their efforts to stamp out under-age players moving overseas prematurely, Real Madrid have had their ban on transfer signings reduced to one window following a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Spanish giants, who lost their first appeal with FIFA’s appeals panel, had originally been barred from signing players for two windows for breaching rules over the transfer of foreign players under the age of 18.
CAS rarely comes down on the side of individual club appeals but this time ruled FIFA’s original punishment was excessive. Although they remain prohibited from registering new players this coming January, Real will now be able to make signings next summer.
In a statement explaining why they halved the ban, CAS said: “Considering that the infractions committed by Real Madrid were less serious and less numerous than argued by the FIFA judiciary bodies, the (judge) ruled that the sanctions imposed on Real Madrid had to be reduced.”
But the club, whose fine has also been reduced from CHF360,000 to CHF240,000, were still not totally happy about the verdict.
Real, who consistently claimed the original punishment over signing young players from outside Spain was over the top, said the judgement “highlights the injustice of the original ban imposed by FIFA, although the club regrets that the CAS lacked the courage to revoke the ruling entirely.”
FIFA’s investigation concerned under-18 players who competed for Real from 2005-2014. FIFA bans the transfer of under-18s to certain countries unless they meet strict criteria.
Real’s signings were registered by the Spanish soccer federation, which has repeatedly allowed clubs to break FIFA rules designed to prevent trafficking of minors. FIFA has already fined the federation CHF220,000 while Barcelona has already served a similar one-year signing embargo and Atletico Madrid are currently appealing their own one-year ban at CAS.
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