Apr 23, 2014, 7:32 AM EST
The “complexity” of the improper conduct case involving Barcelona will likely allow the Spanish giant to conduct transfer business this summer, as its 14-month transfer ban has been suspended by FIFA during the club’s appeal.
FIFA expects the investigation to take longer than July 1, which means it would eat into the transfer window regardless of whether the ban is expected to hold up or the appeal successful.
Barca received a transfer ban earlier this month for illegal activity on signing players under the age of 18, the latest in a string of off-field drama for the club that has included tax fraud in the Neymar signing and an investigation into tax evasion for Lionel Messi.
And with the club set to embark on a crucial summer of player activity after a relatively-unsuccessful season — and without longtime stars Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes — the suspension of the ban is quite timely.
As for the “why” and “how” of the ban, this is from the BBC:
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.
The Fifa investigation centred on several players aged under 18 who were registered and played for Barcelona between 2009 and 2013.
Fifa told BBC Sport the identity of these players is confidential.
Perhaps Barca’s size is working in its favor in multiple ways here. FIFA could be granting leniency to a rich club, but also it may need the time to search through the pages of a club busier than most others. In any event, this is a massive break for the Blaugranas and will no doubt be met with consternation by Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and the rest of Spain, while also leading to a fresh batch of Lionel Messi departure rumors.
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