Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu hits back at FIFA
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has denounced FIFA for punishing the club over a breach of rules.
Last Updated: 03/04/14 7:52pm
The Spanish champions have been sanctioned for breaking the rules in the case of 10 U18 players, and have been punished with a transfer embargo covering two transfer windows and a fine of £305,000.
Barca are hoping to get the transfer ban suspended until their appeal is heard and will take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if necessary.
Bartomeu also intends to push ahead with plans to buy at least a goalkeeper and a central defender in the close season.
"We are outraged and the victims of a grave injustice," said Bartomeu.
"With this sanction, FIFA is punishing a model that has existed for 35 years and which is the essence of this club.
"FIFA knows that we do things well and we look after the children and give them an education that perhaps they wouldn't get in their own country.
"We are not prepared in any way to give up our educational model. We have defended, continue to defend and will always defend the rights of minors.
"Hands off La Masia, that's the message we want to send to our members and fans, hands off La Masia.
"We will fight until the end to protect this model because it has made our first team become a leader in world football.
"We have absolute confidence in our lawyers and they tell us we have good grounds to think that the sanction will be lifted."