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Barcelona's Future Faces One-Year Freeze Over Foul Transfer Play

by A.J. Herrmann
Apr 02, 2014 4:37 PM EDT



In a stern punishment handed down by the governing bodies of FIFA, perennial Spanish giants Barcelona were issued a sturdy fine and a 14-month ban on all transfer activity, raising many important questions and more than a few eyebrows.

Barca's public relations team have endured a nightmare stretch over the last few months in the wake of the transfer scandal over Brazil's Neymar, which revealed that the 21-year-old's parents circuitously received 34 million (roughly $56.6 million) of the 48.6 million fee that brought the young attacker to Camp Nou last June. These misdeeds led to the resignation of then club President Sandro Rosell.

Reports today indicated that Barcelona did not learn their lesson in the Neymar affair, and had committed several infractions in the process of signing as many as ten of their young acquisitions.

According to a SkySports report filed today, "FIFA only allows international youth transfers when one of three situations apply: the player's parents have moved country for their own non-related reasons; 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 50 kilometers from the national border being crossed."

While the identities of the youngsters in question remain confidential, several have challenged the validity of Barca's most recent signing, 17-year-old midfielder Alen Halilovic. Barcelona had also reportedly come to terms with 18-year-old Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barca were expected to make several key transfer moves over the next two windows, as they look to remedy the departure of former captain and defensive stalwart Carles Puyol, as well as coping with the severe ACL injury that will keep longtime goalkeeper Victor Valdes sidelined for the next seven months. In addition, centerback Gerard Pique will also miss the next four weeks with a fractured pelvis.

Barcelona currently sit second in the thick of the hotly contested La Liga title race, sandwiched between Madrid's two powerhouse clubs, Atletico above and Real below.

Barcelona team officials insist they have done nothing illegal, as they plan to appeal the penalty from FIFA, which could potentially result in a favorable reversal like the one Chelsea earned when they opposed a similar ruling in 2010. While Barca are still permitted to sell any of their players going forward, they'll have to wait until the summer transfer window of 2015 before they can replenish their aging superstar roster.

Can the Catalonian clinicians find a way to make do with the squad they have? Or will this jarring decision lead to a major power shift in Spanish football? Vamos a tener que esperar. . . . .

Check out some of the best plays from Barcelona's season highlight, a 4-3 victory over Real Madrid in the most recent El Clasico showdown.