Tuesday 30 December 2014 13:12, UK
Barcelona will not be allowed to sign any players in 2015 after the Catalan club's appeal against their transfer ban was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Primera Division outfit turned to CAS in August after FIFA rejected their appeal to overturn a two-window ban, which was handed to them by world football's governing body in April due to concerns over the "international transfer of minors".
But their quest hit a further dead end on Tuesday, meaning they will be unable to bring in any new blood until January 2016.
"The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by FC Barcelona against the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) regarding the decision issued by the FIFA appeals committee on 19 August 2014," a statement from CAS read.
"In such decision, the Spanish football club was sanctioned with a transfer ban for two periods, a fine of CHF 450,000 and a reprimand after it was found to have infringed the FIFA regulations with respect to the registration of a number of minor players."
FC Barcelona considers the sanction to be completely disproportionate as it supposes an excessive punishment for the club, when considering its trajectory and the circumstances of this specific case.
However, Barcelona say they may appeal the CAS decision to a Swiss federal court.
Following the ruling, the club released a statement on their website which read: “With all respect for the sports authorities, the club has expressed its utter nonconformity with the resolution.
"FC Barcelona wishes to state, with all due respect for the sports authorities, that it totally disagrees with the verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced today to confirm the sanction originally imposed by FIFA as a consequence of the alleged breach of regulations on the international transfer of minor footballers.
"The errors that the club might have committed, and which have been recognised and argued before the corresponding authorities, are, in all cases, of an administrative nature and to a large extent have been caused by the existing conflict between the FIFA regulations and Spanish legislation, along with the club's conviction that it was acting correctly.
"Therefore, FC Barcelona considers the sanction to be completely disproportionate as it supposes an excessive punishment for the club, when considering its trajectory and the circumstances of this specific case.
"In this regard, where the judicial grounds for the CAS decision are announced, the club shall proceed by studying and evaluating the different legal options available, among others the possibility of appealing against the CAS arbitration to the Swiss Federal Courts."
The Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP) also issued a statement on Tuesday in which it expressed its concern that other Spanish clubs could find themselves in the same situation as Barca.
"We consider that the sanction can only be classified as totally disproportionate, inappropriate and unrelated to the errors, since it involves a disproportionate punishment for FC Barcelona,” the statement read.
"As a result of this existing conflict, to properly protect the interests of under-age players, the current model of Spanish football and because other Spanish clubs can be found in a similar situation, the LFP is conducting a review of the adequacy of the different rules of FIFA, as well as the different standards of the European Union, and based on this will consider the possibility of reporting to the European Union the current regulation of the transfer of under-age players."