Barcelona hit with a year-long transfer ban for breaching rules on youngsters
Barcelona's hopes of signing a successor to their departing goalkeeper Víctor Valdés and the teenager dubbed "the new Lionel Messi" – Dinamo Zagreb's Alen Halilovic – have been hit after they had a year-long transfer ban imposed for breaching Fifa's rules on the transfer of players aged under 18.
The ban raises serious questions about the club's immediate future, with Fifa applying the sanction against Barça for signing 10 minor players and committing "several other concurrent infringements". They have been fined £305,000 and if the punishment stands they will not be able to sign players until the summer of 2015.
Barça will appeal against Fifa's decision via the court of arbitration for sport, but the news comes as a blow for the Catalan club and is the latest in a string of recent embarrassments for the board. It casts doubt over moves already agreed for the £10m Borussia Mönchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and the 17-year-old Croat Halilovic, who turns 18 in June. Stegen was seen as the successor to Valdés, who is out for seven months with a knee injury and has said he is leaving the club in the summer.
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