FIFA Lifts Barcelona’s One-Year Transfer Ban, Pending Appeal

Josep Maria BartomeuZURICH — Barcelona has been cleared to sign new players this offseason after FIFA froze the club’s one-year transfer embargo while the sanction is appealed.

FIFA said on Wednesday its appeal panel “considered that the appeal lodged by the club is to be granted suspensive effect.”

Panel chairman Larry Mussenden took the decision because the case was unlikely to be resolved before the July 1 opening of the next transfer window, football’s governing body said in a statement.

Barcelona can plan a transfer strategy in July and August to help protect the club against a potential ban on signing players throughout 2015.

The Spanish club has pledged to pursue a further challenge against the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport if, as expected, it loses the initial appeal at FIFA.

FIFA’s disciplinary committee barred Barcelona from registering new players as punishment for signing youth players from overseas in breach of rules designed to prevent child trafficking.

Barcelona’s interim legal victory on Wednesday follows a pattern in similar cases of signing embargoes applying only once the appeal process is exhausted.

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