As expected, Barcelona have announced they will appeal the two-window transfer ban and fine of 450,000 Swiss francs ($507,330) imposed by FIFA for violating rules related to the international transfer of youth players. In defense of the club and La Masia, their revered youth academy, Barcelona have released a 14-point response to the charges.
According to the official statement released by FIFA, the Royal Spanish Football Federation has also been sanctioned the transfer of international minors.
The statute that FCB allegedly infringed upon is intended to protect minors from the actions of sports clubs that incorporate players without ensuring the required attention necessary for proper development, FCB itself does guarantee the development of its players through the model of La Masia.
La Masia’s model incorporates educational training programs, accommodation, meals, medical care, attention to the needs of children and sports development plans. FCB forms people before athletes, a fact that has not been considered by FIFA, which applies a penalty criterion that ignores the educational function of our training program.
All FCB players have always had their federal licenses as required by the respective federations. All of them at all times.
Some of the players affected by FIFA’s ruling have even been called up by the Catalan Football Federation to participate in the regional championships with the Catalan team.
Since this process was started by FIFA, the federation licenses held by the affected players have been withdrawn and they have not featured in official matches. Thus, there has been no non-regulatory participation in athletic endeavours by any of the aforementioned players.
FC Barcelona has not breached any civil law and all children who train at La Masia are legal residents in the country.
Players whose federal licenses have been nullified by FIFA have had the option of continuing in the Club, which is committed to ensuring their education, in order to avoid social harm, despite the fact that they are banned from featuring for FCB.
No player of FCB is in an administrative irregular situation.
FCB has communicated the need to revise the regulations intended to protect minors on various occasions to FIFA. The intent is to make said regulations more effective.
FCB’s development model has always received the express recognition of FIFA, La Masia has always been used as an example of good practice.
FCB’s candidates for the Ballon d'Or is an example of FIFA’s recognition of our sports training and development procedures.
FCB’s training model aids the families of many players to integrate into society.
In Catalonia alone it is estimated that 15,000 underage players born outside of Spain and registered with their federation who, according to the criteria used in this case by FIFA, would have to be considered to be in a similarly unauthorised state.
In short, they're saying that La Masia is great, FIFA has even said so in the past and everyone does what Barca have done, so leave us alone or Messi will be sad and it will be all your fault.
In addition to the appeal, Barcelona say they will demand the ability to sign players in the transfer window while the case is pending. This would allow them to preserve deals they've already made to sign goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and midfielder Alen Halilovic.
In 2009, Chelsea had a two-window transfer ban of their own overturned on appeal, but that was related to one specific transfer and the two clubs involved were able to reach an agreement.
There are reports that Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are also under investigation by FIFA for the same infractions as Barcelona, which makes it seem like this all a big show from the governing body in an attempt to push reform in how youth players are handled. In other words, don't be surprised if Barcelona's transfer ban is eventually overturned once they've been sufficiently frightened into taking FIFA seriously.
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