FIFA sends message to clubs with Barcelona ban

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 4, 2014 at 11:40 am •  Published: April 4, 2014

MADRID (AP) — FIFA's decision to slap Barcelona with a transfer ban is a clear message to Europe's top clubs to follow the rules when signing international youth players.

The governing body of world soccer banned the Spanish champions from any activity in the next two transfer windows for breaching international regulations in signing up to 10 youth players.

Spanish sports lawyers contacted by The Associated Press on Friday said it was a complex case in which Barcelona's chances of prevailing on appeal were slim, and the message may already have been sent.

"This is a very difficult case and it's going to be very complicated for Barcelona to win it," Jose Lasa Azpeitia of Laffer Abogados said. "FIFA is showing it's not afraid to go after you regardless of how big an institution you are."

Barcelona labeled itself a "victim of a grave injustice" and has staunchly proclaimed it will defend its La Masia youth system, which has produced such players as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.

Rodrigo Arias Grillo of Sportia Law called the ban a "landmark case" in dealing with international regulations for youth player movement.

"The situation is very serious. It's a knock on the door for clubs that have sports model infrastructures that deal with youth. The message is that no one is beyond their regulations," Arias Grillo told the AP.

"It touches on the grass roots of high-profile clubs, which is very interesting. The impact of this will be seen in the way elite teams manage their grass roots development and associations with other countries."