FIFA announced Wednesday that it has rejected an appeal lodged by Barcelona over the one-year transfer ban FIFA handed down after the Spanish soccer power was found to have violated rules on signing international players under the age of 18.
Barcelona said it would continue its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If this last-ditch effort fails, it will not be allowed to sign new players over the next two transfer periods, starting in January and lasting throughout 2015.
FIFA announced its initial ban in April after it found that Barcelona and the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) “were guilty of a ‘serious’ infringement of the rules in relation to 10 players,” the BBC reports, explaining the rules in question thusly:
“FIFA rules state that international transfers are only permitted for players over the age of 18 — unless the player in question meets one of three qualifying criteria.
Under-18s can move to a club in a different country if their parents move there for non-footballing reasons, if they are from another nation within the European Union or European Economic Area and aged between 16 and 18, or if they live within 100km of the club.
Barcelona then appealed the ban, and FIFA allowed the team to continue signing new players while the process was ongoing. Barcelona used the reprieve to sign eight new players at a cost of $216.3 million, including striker Luis Suarez from Liverpool and defender Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal.
Barcelona can continue to sign new players until the current transfer period ends on Aug. 31.