Barcelona lose their final appeal as dealing in under aged children confirmed

By Tony Attwood

The result of Barcelona’s behind-closed-doors appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the charges of dealing in children (often referred to as child trafficking) between 2009 and 2013, has been rejected and it is confirmed that they will not be allowed to sign any players in 2015.

Although the appeal details were kept secret and the court hearing itself was held in secret, word slipped out that Barcelona had put in a plea to the effect that the sentencing was too harsh, and that one transfer window (Jan 2015) would be a more appropriate ban.

Part way through the hearing CAS asked for more documentation to be provided by Barcelona, and the club stated that they were cautiously optimistic that this showed their appeal was being taken seriously.

But the truth always remained that Barcelona had put forward no defence at all, save the fact that their academy was world famous and could not possibly be seen as a centre of the illegal movement of children across national boundaries.  It’s main line of defence other than that (at least in public) was that the case was “utter nonsense”.

An appeal by Barcelona allowed them to go on a buying spree, but after the appeal was rejected, it was confirmed that the ban would stay in place, even though Barcelona then talked about making the appeal to CAS – although they had no extra evidence to bring.

However contrary to its usual procedure CAS rushed the appeal through, which I must say caused me some considerable concern about CAS’ view of the case.

Cas said in a statement, “The panel found in particular that FC Barcelona had breached the rules regarding the protection of minors and the registration of minors attending football academies.

“Accordingly, the Fifa decision is confirmed in full and the sanction remains in force.

“In view of the need to issue a decision before the opening of the next transfer window, the panel has issued its decision without the grounds. The full arbitral award, with the reasons for the panel’s decision, will be issued as soon as possible.”

Barcelona then changed tack and suggested that the errors were of an “administrative nature and to a large extent have been caused by the existing conflict between the Fifa regulations and Spanish legislation,” along with the club’s conviction that it was acting correctly.

This is pretty feeble to say the least since a lot of Fifa rulings contradict national legislation – which is why Fifa has a rule that says that no one in football must ever appeal to the national courts over a matter that Fifa has ruled upon.  But the club pushed on…

“Therefore, FC Barcelona considers the sanction to be completely disproportionate as it supposes an excessive punishment for the club, when considering its trajectory and the circumstances of this specific case.”

The Spanish FA were also found guilty in the original case.

Fifa rules forbid the movement of children beyond national boundaries (other than within the EU) to train in another country unless a parent has an established proper job in the other country.  It is suggested in some quarters that Barcelona were providing jobs for parents – something specifically forbidden by Fifa, following pressure from UNICEF.

Barcelona went on a mega spending spree in the last transfer window in order to mitigate against the possible loss of its appeal.  According to their own figures Barcelona spent 157 million euros in the last transfer window, and sold players to the tune of 79 million euros.  However the purchase of Neymar has some problems in evaluating the costs involved, and the president of Barcelona resigned when a court case against him for embezzlement in relation to that transfer and other events, was started in the Spanish court.

There is also a difference of opinion over the cost of Suarez who Barcelona have put down as being 81 million euros but Liverpool have down in their accounts as being 94 million euros.  This transfer itself is having repercussions over FFP as over valuing the sale income of a player is one of the easiest ways to try and balance the books for the purpose of FFP.

So is that it?  Well, maybe no.  You might recall that when Untold was revealing, ahead of the game, what was going to happen to Man C over FFP, we had a lot of correspondence saying that FFP was illegal and the European courts would throw it out.   This was nonsense, but here we are again, when a big club gets a ruling it doesn’t like… there is talk of going to the EU.

The Daily Mail reports that The Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP) has issued a statement saying it was worried that other Spanish clubs could find themselves in the same boat and suggesting the EU should be involved.  It, like Barcelona, based its case on the fact that La Masia youth academy is ‘a world example’.

‘We consider that the sanction can only be classified as totally disproportionate, inappropriate and unrelated to the errors, since it involves a disproportionate punishment for FC Barcelona, taking into account the behaviour and the circumstances of the case,’ a statement on read.

‘As a result of this existing conflict, to properly protect the interests of under-age players, the current model of Spanish football and the because other Spanish clubs can be found in a similar situation, the LFP is conducting a review of the adequacy of the different rules of FIFA, as well as the different standards of the European Union, and based on this will consider the possibility of reporting to the European Union the current regulation of the transfer of under-age players.’

So on we go.  But at least for now we can say that

a) Untold has been one of the few outlets in the UK following this case in full detail from the start.  OK they were not our most read articles, but at least we bothered to get the details.

b) We called it right, all the way through.

1-0 to the Untold… 1-0 to CAS, and yes, let’s be fair, Fifa called it right too.  Blimey.  We don’t say that very often.

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20 Replies to “Barcelona lose their final appeal as dealing in under aged children confirmed”

  1. Barcelona have lost an appeal?
    Wonders will never cease.
    The year is actually ending with a modicum of de jure integrity.
    There is hope in the air.

  2. What is good for the goose is good for the gander!! Money should not be the only thing that counts in football. Ethics too should count, even more so where the so called BIG Clubs are concerned. Maybe with this ruling, we will begin to see some sanity in how the business of football is conducted. Let the cleaning of the Augean stable begin!

  3. They Barca circumvented the ban by crafty stretegy and still went ahead to buy some players in the summer. For this circumventing the banning, Barca ought to have been banned for 2 years instead of the 1 year they got. If I were Barca, I will accept the CAS ruling and embark on abiding on the Fifa regulatory injunctions guiding the recruitment of talented children into their football academy.

  4. How is a one year transfer ban and a measly £293k fine for child trafficking ‘disproportionate’?

  5. Correct me if im wrong (and i most probably am) but is he implying that young players these days back out of a lot of potential duels on field in order to keep their duel win percentage up? Hes clearly more clued up than most people, but theres no way hes right there; surely? I cant imagine any player would have that in the back of their mind when theyre in the middle of a game. That just seems so far off the mark to me.

  6. @jammy j,

    Children are trained from a very young age now. If the coach keeps telling them don’t go for 50-50 every day, then it becomes a reactive thing. …

  7. I’m sure other clubs will learn from this. I also remember an article where Falcao was saying that players sometimes have no say in where they are sold to during a window – Looks like something we’ve also heard on UA. Keep keeping us abreast of true situations in 2015 and beyond!

  8. Now if only the powers that be would look into

    1) The sponsorship deal with Man City. I am sure the UEFA rules states family members can’t sponsor each other.

    2) The creating and owning of other teams and a) loaning players between such teams and b) the selling of rights to the mother club to use the name City.

    How both of these have not lead to a huge ban for Man City is beyond me.

  9. Will

    Hope springs eternal but sadly I cant see it happening.

    You should be careful what you say Will, before you know it we’ll have floods of City fans telling us how everything they do is all legal and above board, and what’s more everything they do is simply to help the ‘community’, and despite what it looks like it has nothing to do with using City as one massive marketing tool or conduit to move Billions of pounds around the Globe to avoid……well anything they can really.

    From Sterling and RVP getting away with it in the PL, to the oilers running the game like some cartel, football is rotten from top to bottom.

    Our little spats over 2nd ball and the like are of utter insignificance when you look at the bigger issues that infest our game.

  10. Yeah, they got banned for someting Wenger and Arsenal have been doing for years, and getting away with it.

    #Ueafalona right? 😛

  11. I do sense that, slowly but surely. the stables are being cleansed. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep things secret and to operate in ways that other concerned parties disagree with.
    It does seem strange however that the clubs who seem most under scrutiny (e.g. Barcelona, Man City) -and who are being forced to change their modus operandi- are the very ones who have most frequently ‘targetted’ Arsenal by tapping up their players and undermined Wengers team building processes.
    The stable cleansing also seems to have gathered pace as Ivan Gazidis has gained more power and influence within UEFA circles.
    Or is that just another conspiracy theory?

  12. And the loan system needs to be looked at. There needs to be a restriction on the number of players a team can farm loan out.

  13. Cule – please reveal a single non-EU national that has been brought to England underage by Arsenal, with one of the immediate family having a job here already.

    If you do we will look at it seriously. If you don’t then this is libel and reflects mostly upon you and Barcelona FC

  14. Cule….where I come from your name means Female ass……so I guess it fits you well! You are a one hit wonder, sniping from your sewer at Arsenal but never coming out into the light of day where germs like you are destroyed by the sun.

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