Real and Atletico hit out at Fifa transfer bans, to pursue appeals

Spanish LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid have slammed the transfer bans imposed on them by world football’s governing body Fifa, stating they will explore all avenues of appeal in a bid to overturn the punishments.

Atletico and Real were yesterday (Thursday) issued with transfer bans by Fifa’s Disciplinary Committee for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18. Fifa said the two clubs were found to have violated several provisions concerning the international transfer and first registration of minor players as well as other relevant provisions with regard to the registration and participation of certain players in competitions.

Both clubs are to serve a transfer ban that prevents them from registering any players at national and international level for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods. The transfer ban, which does not affect the current January window, applies to each club as a whole – with the exception of the women’s, futsal and beach football teams – and does not prevent the release of players.

Additionally, Atlético and Real have been fined CHF900,000 (€830,000/$896,000) and CHF360,000 respectively, while both clubs have been issued with a reprimand and given 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned.

In the wake of the announcement, Real said it would appeal the sanctions deeming them “absolutely inappropriate.” Speaking at a press conference on Thursday evening, Real chief executive José Ángel Sánchez said the club had “high hopes” of overturning the ban through Fifa’s own appeal channels, but maintained it would take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if necessary.

Sánchez stated that Fifa’s move had been “totally unexpected” and claimed the three arguments put forward to justify the ban do not stand up. He added: “It's completely untrue that we fielded players aged under 18 without registering them with the RFEF (Spanish Football Federation) and that we failed to comply with the regulatory requirements. This club has a set of ethical values and the people in charge in this area (youth recruitment) have never deviated from them. The arguments made are erroneous.”

Atletico has also stated that it does not agree with the imposed sanctions and will examine all the documentation received to lodge an appeal. Club president Enrique Cerezo told Spanish newspaper Diario AS: “We are completely in the right. We never expected this sanction. It's news to us. It's a huge injustice and not being able to sign players is a problem, but we've got a strong squad. We are studying all the documentation Fifa have sent us. We have to read all 110 pages.”