After being found guilty of signing players under the age of 18 from 2009 through last year, FIFA imposed a 14-month sanction transfer ban on Spanish football club Barcelona.
In addition to the ban, the club was also fined more than $500,000. As a result of the penalty, the team is not allowed to buy or sell players until the summer of 2015.
FIFA also imposed sanctions on the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) for the same violation.
“The disciplinary committee emphasized that the protection of minors in the context of international transfers is an important social and legal issue that concerns all stakeholders in football,'' FIFA said in a statement. ''Above all, the committee highlighted that while international transfers might, in specific cases, be favorable to a young player's sporting career, they are very likely to be contrary to the best interests of the player as a minor.''
Barcelona's plans to splurge on new talent following the departure of captain Carles Puyol and goalkeeper Victor Valdes at the end of the season now appear to be blocked, which will severely weaken the team next season.
This latest development could have serious consequences for a team already facing adversity after Spanish authorities accused the club of tax evasion during the purchase of Brazil forward Neymar.
"That saga led to the resignation of controversial club president Sandro Rosell in January. Now his replacement, Josep Maria Bartomeu, can expect overwhelming pressure from fans to call new presidential elections as soon as possible,” the BBC reported.