Trouble in Spain: Allegations against Barcelona

            Barcelona is trying to fight the law, and they law may win. As this season has already been highlighted with many lows already, they are now in a fight that may sink them even lower. Last week, Spanish club giant Barcelona were hit with a 18 month transfer ban due to repeatedly breaching transfer regulations in signing youth players. An investigation by FIFA found that the club and the Spanish Football Federation were guilty of “serious” infringement rules and is tied to at least 10 players who have played for the club over the last 5 years. Transfers are only allowed for players over the age of 18 unless the following criteria is met; a) can move to a club in a different country if their parents move there for non-footballing reasons, b) if they are from another nation within the European Union or European Economic Area and aged between 16 and 18 and c) if they live within 100km of the club.

              The president of Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu, is adamant that they didn’t break any rules and plans to appeal. Any time that an allegation like this is put in place, there is a 90 day window to appeal, and in that time, you can still make transfers.  An appeal was won by Chelsea to similar allegation in 2009 over the signing of Gael Kakuta from Lens, but it differentiates from this as they came to a settlement and assured the contract was not valid. In this instance, there are 10 players in breach, multiple allegations and no talk of a settlement. For a team that was already hit with allegations of tax evasion over the Neymar signing and the level of play this season, this only makes it worse. Barcelona is still alive to possibly win La Liga and UEFA Champions League but this is a thorn that many believe won’t go away. At the end of the season, they have to replace Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes and this will hurt if upheld.

            For a team like Barcelona who is one of the most popular teams in the world, not being able to make any transfers can not only bring their level of play down but can also hurt their brand, which is one of the top brands in the world. Many top players in the world become available in the transfer market and without the ability to do that, Barcelona may be looking up at Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid for some time.

            If these sanction stand another issue is surfacing; that being the contact between the blaugrana and multiple players before this news dropped on the public.  For instance, former Dinamo Zagreb and current Croatian national team youngster Alen Halilović who has signed to a 5 year €2.2 million euro agreement before the sanctions were in place. This promising attacking midfielder had his eyes set for a summer transfer to the Barcelona B squad however this allowance is still in the air.  Halilović is being represented by the Belgian lawyer Dupont whom is certain this transfer will still take place and was quoted stating “The operation took place before the punishment was imposed,” and “I cannot imagine for even a second that my client Alen Halilovic will not be able to play for Barcelona.” 

             Another contact for this upcoming transfer window is German Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen who has been quoted stating he is leaving current club Borussia Moenchengladbach this summer and has been in talks with the Catalonian giants.  Ter Stegen has been linked to replace goalkeeper Victor Valdes whose contract expires at the end of this season, however has not publically announced he won’t renew. Only time will tell about previous contractual agreements but if implemented one thing will be certain we will truly get to see some talent from the famous La Masia academy next fall.

           Like anything else in life such strong allegations will have many negative effects; however I do feel some positives could arise.  Like many clubs in Europe this will force Barca to rethink the club formation and gravitate towards more of a youth oriented squad.  Transforming from big game experience to youth, while pressure is off the club to perform, could be beneficial for their future play. How do you feel about Barca future? Do you think any positives can come from a break in the transfer window?

Upcoming Games:

Tuesday, April  8th:

UEFA Champions League- Borussia Dortmund v. Real Madrid- 1:45 PM

UEFA Champions League- Chelsea v. PSG- 1:45 PM

Wednesday, April 9th:

UEFA Champions League- Atletico Madrid v. Barcelona- 1:45 PM

UEFA Champions League- Bayern Munich v. Manchester United- 1:45 PM

Thursday, April 10th:

UEFA Europa League- Benfica v. AZ Alkmaar- 2:05 PM

UEFA Europa League- Juventus v. Lyon- 2:05 PM

UEFA Europa League- Sevilla FC v. FC Porto- 2:05 PM

UEFA Europa League- Valencia v. FC Basel- 2:05 PM

Saturday, April 12th:

MLS- Philadelphia Union v. Real Salt Lake-3:00 PM

MLS- New England v. Houston- 4:00 PM

MLS- D.C. United v. New York Red Bulls- 6:00 PM

MLS- FC Dallas v. Seattle Sounders- 7:30 PM

MLS- Portland Timbers v. Chivas USA- 9:30 PM

Barclays Premier League-Stoke City v. Newcastle United- 9:07 AM

Barclays Premier League- Sunderland v. Everton- 9:07 AM

Barclays Premier League- Southampton v. Cardiff City- 9:07 AM

English FA Cup- Wigan v. Arsenal- 11:07 AM

Spanish Primera Division- Granada v. Barcelona- 1:00 PM

Spanish Primera Division- Real Madrid v. Almeria

Serie A- AS Roma v. Atalanta- 1:45 PM

German Bundesliga- Bayern Munich v. Borussia Dortmund- 11:30 AM

Sunday, April 13th:

MLS- San Jose v. Columbus- 2:00 PM

Barclays Premier League- Liverpool v. Manchester City- 7:37 AM

Barclays Premier League- Swansea City v. Chelsea- 10:07 AM

English FA Cup: Hull City v. Sheffield United- 10:07 AM

Spanish Primera Division- Getafe v. Atletico Madrid- 12:00 PM

Serie A- Hellas Verona v. Fiorentina- 8:00 AM

Serie A- Napoli v. Lazio- 8:00 AM

Serie A- Sampdoria v. Inter Mian- 8:00 AM

French Ligue 1- Lyon v. PSG- 2:00 PM

Monday, April 14th:

Serie A- Udinese v. Juventus- 1:45 PM

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