From the moment Barcelona were found guilty of child trafficking for a second time they announced that they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport. Technically the appeal would be against the decision of the FIFA Appeals Committee to confirm the decision taken by the FIFA Disciplinary Chamber in which the club was sanctioned with a transfer ban for two periods, a fine of 450,000 Swiss Francs and a reprimand.
With no newspapers or broadcast media wanting to cover what is an embarrassing story for Barcelona, I’ve tried to keep an eye on matters by watching the CAS list of cases.
But it seems that I have not been active enough, or that even hearing dates have become secret, because it appears that FC Barcelona has filed an appeal at CAS against the sanction after the club was (to use the technical language) found to have infringed the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players in relation to the registration of a number of minor players.
Now it is possible that I missed the listing of the appeal on the CAS website – but given the secrecy of the appeal it is possible that Barcelona persuaded CAS not to list the appeal for some reason. A worrying development if true.
In its appeal to the CAS, which was held in secret the club asked either for an annulment of the FIFA decision or a lighter sanction. It seems that CAS agreed to what it calls its “expedited procedure” which means that while most organisations have to wait months for a hearing this one has gone straight through. Thus if CAS find in Barcelona’s favour they will be free to transfer in January.
It seems that the hearing was held at the CAS Court Office on 5 December 2014 and a decision has been promised before the end of 2014.
This secrecy (or at very best lack of publicity and lack of media coverage everywhere except on one site other than this) is frustrating to say the least.
The case first came to our attention nearly two years ago when Fifa blocked Barcelona from selecting children from South Korea, France, Nigeria and Cameroon for competitive matches. This followed the strengthening of Fifa transfer rules in 2010 after the first allegations emerged that clubs were involved in child trafficking with agents touring third world countries in particular promising riches to families if they could take their children away.
Many went, and most were abandoned when their talent was revealed to be not high enough for clubs, but Barcelona was implicated in the trade.
Meanwhile with the CAS at the moment not covering itself in democratic glory (court cases should be widely listed guys and held in public – otherwise how can we ever believe things are not fixed?) Fifa has been clearing up some of its mess largely by hearing complaints against itself (a clever trick if anyone ever accuses you of anything) and announcing the results.
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