Fake Eric Cantona

Barcelona Ban Suspended, All Plans Up-ended

Created on Apr. 23, 2014 8:53 AM EST

One minute Fifa was claiming that the evidence was incontrovertible; it could not be controverted, and Barcelona would be banned for two transfer windows. And the next minute, which happens to be right now, Fifa has quietly decided to suspend that punishment, until a final decision would be made. 

What this means is that Barcelona's transfer agenda is back on course. Marc ter Stegen? For-Sure-gen. Victor V going away party? We can book a DJ now, because it's happening. Finally. Dani Alves contract extension? Please. Like his performances of late, Dani Alves should have negotiated that faster, when he had a chance to do something about it.

One of the biggest losers of this extension will be Tata Martinez. Previously, Martinez had no decent replacement beneath him in the corporate Barcelona structure. Now Barcelona can look outside the existing unit. What this also means is that top shelf players, players loathe to join a sinking ship, may look favorably on Barcelona again, as they sign a better gaffer. 

Barcelona look to replace their Right-Back and Center-Back positions, as Carles Puyol and Alves are set to leave. They also face the possible sale of Javier Mascerano to Napoli, and will need to find a Defensive Midfielder to replace him. 

This means that Barcelona can lodge their bid for Chelsea's Brazilian Defender David Luiz, who will likely be placed as Defensive Midfielder, a position he recently filled in Chelsea's successful defensive effort against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Semis. 

The most important effect of the suspended punishment will be that Barcelona, and the Spanish league as a whole, remains competitive in the current decline of European football. Over the past decade, UEFA has experienced a sea-change in the relative strengths of its leagues. Serie A, who contended for half of the CL titles in the Noughties, has been downgraded to only three CL positions. This shift was balanced by giving an extra position to the Bundesliga, which has yet to build viewer ratings.

Keeping Barcelona competitive will no doubt help UEFA remain competitive against the rising popularity of South American football on the international stage. This may explain Fifa's recent decision to suspend the punishment. 

It should be noted, that the suspended punishment will toll the time period, which may mean that Barcelona, if found guilty of the charges against them, will face a two-window suspension until January 2016. At least this way Barcelona has time to prepare.
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