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Barcelona’s ban from signing anyone gives hope that other regs will be upheld

By Tony Attwood

The fact that Fifa have actually found against Barcelona and Spain’s Football Association in the issue of the transfer of minors from outside of the EU has come as a bit of a shock.  At least in this office.

Fifa actually taking action?  Against Barcelona?  It all seemed so unlikely.

Of course there are dark mutterings in Spain that this is Real Madrid’s doing – noting that Real Madrid are themselves embroiled in a very serious legal case with the European Union, involving the land swap with the Madrid regional authority, an issue that seems to contravene key EU regulations against local and national government support for commercial enterprises.   But that one will take longer to go through the courts.

Meanwhile it is Barcelona that has been taken on by Fifa.  And although it is a different matter, and a different authority, it gives us just a spark of hope that Uefa will feel that with Fifa hitting Barcelona it can take on Man City, PSG, Liverpool, Chelsea, Monaco and the rest over their expenditure in contravention of FFP regulations.   The possibility has been looking less and less likely, but now there is a spark of hope.  (Liverpool, as you may have noted from comments here by their supporters, feel they are safe, although much of this seems to be based on an article in the Daily Mirror newspaper, and not too much more).

Barcelona, famously unable to pay their players a couple of summers ago, and ordering massive cuts in expenditure while urgently trying to enlarge the stadium and hold on to their TV income, have survived in part through the introduction of young players from outside the EU – then selling on the one’s they don’t like to other clubs.  Effectively it has been child trafficking.

The Spanish FA has kowtowed to this arrangement, desperate not to hurt one of its two giants.  As a result of this punishment they can’t buy anyone else until the summer of 2015 and the FA have been sanctioned.

The fact that Barcelona were done for signing 10 players and “several other concurrent infringements” shows just how widespread their total rejection of significant rules has been. They have been fined £305,000.

Assuming that they lose their appeal – and the Arbitration in Sport body has appeared (from the outside) far less corrupt than Fifa in some past cases – it means that one of the key bidders for, and holders of, talent, is out of the market.  This could be particularly relevant for anyone Arsenal is looking for.

And indeed it is not just the fact that the appeal goes through the CAS but the strength of the Fifa statement that makes it unlikely that CAS will uphold an appeal.  For example Fifa said, “The disciplinary committee emphasised that the protection of minors in the context of international transfers is an important social and legal issue that concerns all stakeholders in football.”    It would be seen as quite extraordinary if the Arbitration panel ignored such a strong moral point.  Normally it is the other way around with Fifa lacking all sense of morality whatsoever.

But while Barcelona won’t be able to do any “Barce is in his DNA” gibberish for a while so it means that Barce will be forced to hold on to everyone they have got given that no one new can come in.  But will they be forced to release all their under 18s from outside the EU?  It looks likely since the contracts are now deemed illegal.  And that presumably means the players will be available on a free.

One part of the ruling said, “The club was granted a period of 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned.”  No one yet knows quite what that means.  I think it could mean that the players signed under 18 have to be released within 90 days, but there are other interpretations.

Meanwhile, the Spanish FA has been given a year in to “regularise their regulatory framework and existing system concerning the international transfer of minors in football”.  The Spanish FA has also been fined for rule breaches in terms of registering the players and fined 500,000 Swiss francs.

Fifa acting morally against one of the big clubs.  Whatever next?

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17 comments to Barcelona’s ban from signing anyone gives hope that other regs will be upheld

  • jeff wright

    Unfortunately Barcelona knew this was coming and have already taken steps to cover themselves for the short ban period. City and others will just drum up ‘sponsors’ to cover themselves. So all much ado about noting really and typical Platini waffle served up to try and make it look as though he and Uefa are cleaning up the game. Nothing could be further from the truth as the Blatter shenanigans at FIFA show that money talks in football and not morality.

  • WalterBroeckx

    We have to keep in mind that we are talking about Fifa here in this case and Uefa in fact has nothing to do with this (as far as I know).
    But the fact that Fifa acted is in itself amazing. But we must remember that maybe other continents have enough of Barcelona taking their best talents away? By doing this (child transfers) Barcelona might have stepped on toes that now have taken this opportunity to pay them back a bit.

    We will see what happens with how Uefa will behave on making the FFP being applied by all.

    I can tell you that Uefa probably will face personal problems as the president of the committee that has to examine the accounts of the clubs is seriously ill and fighting cancer. I am talking about the former Belgian prime minister Jean Luc Dehaene. Not that I trusted him at all. Never trust a politician. But in interviews he always was strong in favour of playing hard ball (but I only believe 1% of what politicians say in interviews – usually their own name being that).

    Him being strong in favour had a lot to do with the fact that he has been a big supporter of a Belgium top team that since the introduction of the money teams struggled to hold on to their previous European successes.

  • NW

    I always believe FFP was taken into consideration when Arsenal launched the new stadium project. If FFP brings down the income of other teams quickly, Arsenal won’t suffer a long period.

    Instead it was delay after delay. Arsenal almost pay off the initial financial expense of the Stadium and FFP is still no where to be seen.

    Thus, we see the 8 years of difficult time being held back instead of may be 3 to 5 years.

  • Ben

    Thanks for posting on this, i saw this on April 1 and i wasnt sure if it was an April’s fool joke by a news site.

  • patrickfoo08

    neymar or messi as goalie

  • Jax

    @NW

    I don’t think FFP is “to bring down the income” of any teams, but to prevent the maximum losses & overspends incurred by them. The idea being to make teams generate their finances from ticket sales & marketing etc. & not to incur huge losses which would be covered by owners. Was FFP in place when the stadium project began?

  • WalterBroeckx

    The oil money wasn’t in place when the decision about the new stadium was made I think.

  • Gouresh

    Here’s a question [sorry if this has been answered before, I may have missed it]
    What’s stopping the money spenders going off and starting their own league cup? Where does UEFA / FIFA stand on this?

  • Jax

    @Gouresh

    There’s nothing to stop them at all, but as FIFA actually virtually owns football and by default the players, then they would be barred from all other international etc. competitions. I think that possibly FIFA could sue them even. I wish they would all bugger off though.

  • Florian

    The oil money came in at the start of the 2003-2004 season, with Abramovich taking over Chelsea. He started investing heavily the next season though, so one could say that the oil era began with the 2004-2005 season. IIRC Arsenal had started building the Emirates in 2004, and the decision had been taken at least 2 years before. Tony would be the best person to ask 🙂

  • omgarsenal

    Jax,Gouresh and others who wonder about the superclubs (Madrid,Barca,United,PSG,Liverpool, Chelsea,Atletico,Bayern, Dortmund, City, AC Milan, Juventus,Inter,Lyon,Arsenal,etc.)going off and doing their thing, there are no major issues to be resolved before that could happen, mostly minor considerations like FUFA and EUFA, but who really cares about them?

  • Florian

    The Wikipedia article about the Emirates Stadium contains an accurate description of the timeline.

  • Micheal Ram

    Gouresh,

    I think Super League is possible if relevant super clubs want to it. Legal as well because no particular contracts signed with FIFA. But still they cant buy players from normal clubs since if Super League is not recognised by FIFA, then the purchase will not be legalised as well. The players need to wind down their contracts from normal clubs in order to join the Super League. No FIFApro protection and no World Cup for the partiipating players. More harm than good the Super League is. This is of course if FIFA dont get corrupt by oil money.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks for the link Florian. Good to read that again. Some things seemed ages ago but it happened all just a few years ago.
    I liked this bit a lot: “Financing for the project proved difficult as Arsenal was not granted any public subsidy by the government.”

    We did this ourselves. Well the club and the board did this with the help of the manager.

  • Blacksheep63

    Barca not being able to trade rather scuppers the ‘Cesc returns’ rumours though…

  • Gord

    I am getting tired of whorenalists writing about Arsenal. Arsenal always fails, and because they fail again, we don’t have to use the 3.62 brain cells we have, to investigate anything. We just write, same-old/same-old. Please, if you cannot get brain engaged, sign up for welfare and give up being a whorenalist. You aren’t doing anyone any good.

    ———–

    Have any of you looked at the Arsenal Wikipedia page? The History
    section ends with a plot of how Arsenal has finished since the season
    ending in the spring of 1947.

    To me, that graph has two distinct parts, from 1947 to 1997, and from
    1997 on. Since WW-II, Arsenal has a median finish of 5th: half the
    time the finish better than 5th, and half the time they finish worse
    than 5th. The standard deviation on that statement is about 4 places.

    If we divide things at when Arsène Wenger started, we see that Pre-Wenger
    we have a median finish of 6th, with a standard deviation of about 4
    places. Since Wenger arrived, our median finish is midway between 2nd and
    3rd, with a standard deviation a bit over 1 place.

    There are many managers before Wenger arrived, and it isn’t obvious to me,
    when one stops and another starts. Except for Wenger.

    If Wenger leaves, and a typical manager replaces him; expect the
    standard deviation of finishing place to go from our current about 1,
    to about 4. What the median finish changes to is debatable. But the
    most obvious influence of Wenger for me, is the highly reduced
    variance in finishing place.

    You may have heard of moving averages. I am looking at moving medians
    (not averages), and I am looking for the best fit for central medians
    over 3 to 17 years, since 1947. Near 1947, there isn’t enough data for
    a “central” datum to work well, and likewise at the end (2013).

    1947 5 4.10
    1948 5 4.10
    1949 5 4.07
    1950 5 4.07
    1951 5 4.07
    1952 5 3.57
    1953 5 3.28
    1954 7 3.73
    1955 5 4.15
    1956 6 3.94
    1957 7 3.75
    1958 10 3.84
    1959 9 3.35
    1960 9 3.45
    1961 9 3.35
    1962 9 3.46
    1963 10 3.33
    1964 10 2.69
    1965 10 3.13
    1966 9 3.26
    1967 9 3.65
    1968 8 4.06
    1969 8 4.12
    1970 8 4.12
    1971 7 4.21
    1972 7 4.28
    1973 7 4.06
    1974 7 3.99
    1975 7 3.88
    1976 6 3.93
    1977 6 3.86
    1978 6 3.77
    1979 7 3.46
    1980 6 2.24
    1981 7 2.21
    1982 6 1.96
    1983 6 2.02
    1984 6 2.21
    1985 6 2.08
    1986 4 2.60
    1987 6 2.42
    1988 4 2.35
    1989 4 2.27
    1990 4 3.16
    1991 4 3.46
    1992 4 3.33
    1993 4 3.32
    1994 4 3.32
    1995 3 3.37
    1996 3 3.73
    1997 2 3.61
    1998 2 3.63
    1999 2 3.42
    2000 2 3.18
    2001 2 3.00
    2002 2 1.35
    2003 2 1.10
    2004 2 1.10
    2005 2 1.19
    2006 2 1.26
    2007 3 1.16
    2008 3 1.12
    2009 3 1.18
    2010 3 1.19
    2011 4 0.53
    2012 4 0.53
    2013 4 0.5

    Please, explain the low variance blip around 1982.

    Above, I am doing “chi by eye”, which is a terribly frowned upon way to analyze data. But, maybe it picks trends due to the human tendency to find patterns? A place for someone else to do a better analysis.

    The long table doesn’t have an abrupt transition to Wenger, but it is obvious that that the time under Wenger is still much better, and much less variable than under earlier managers.

    I can imagine the AAA will have problems, I don’t know when I will see that. I’ve got trees to trim, so maybe Saturday or Sunday?

    —-

    Here is hoping we do well against Everton.

    COYG!

  • OlegYch

    what’s the problem with giving gifted children a chance in one of the best academies? e.g. Messi would have never received appropriate treatment if he had stayed in Argentine