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Barcelona handed a 14-month transfer ban from FIFA

Apr 2, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT

Barcelona v Paris St Germain - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Getty Images

So much for those rumors of selling Lionel Messi, because Barca’s gonna need him more than ever.

For the next 14 months, FC Barcelona will have to rely on its youth system and the big business they’ve done in the past after receiving a transfer ban from FIFA for illegal activity on signing players under the age of 18.

The club has also been fined over $500,000 (Where, oh where, will they get the money??).

“On the basis of this analysis, the committee concluded that ‘the interest in protecting the appropriate and healthy development of a minor as a whole must prevail over purely sporting interests’,” said a FIFA statement.

This isn’t a single offense, as FIFA says that Barca was guilty in “serious” offenses in the cases of 10 transfers between the years 2009-2013. The Blaugrana recently signed a $20-million 17-year-old expected to be the youngest player at World Cup.

There are only three cases in which clubs are allowed to acquire international players before the age in question.

No stranger to controversy, Barca recently paid Spanish authorities close to $19 million in a tax fraud case over their dealings in acquiring Neymar from Santos, a deal that also forced president Sandro Rosell to step down from his post.

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