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SOCCER

Fifa allows Barcelona to sign new players

Soccer governing body puts transfer ban on hold, taking into account “complexity” of case

Brazilian star Neymar (center) is presented at Barcelona. Ampliar foto
Brazilian star Neymar (center) is presented at Barcelona. GETTY

Barcelona will be able to carry out the planned major overhaul of its squad for next season after Fifa agreed to suspend, pending a final ruling, the ban on signing new players it had imposed on the soccer club last month for breaching regulations relating to the transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

The decision to put the ban on hold came as a surprise to some of the more hardline sectors within soccer’s world governing body.

Meanwhile, Barcelona greeted the ruling as excellent news, though for the moment it will continue to follow the path of discretion in the hope that a definitive resolution can be reached

The president of Fifa’s Appeal Committee, Larry Mussenden, made the decision taking into account “the complexity of the matter, the start date of the next registration period – 1 July 2014 – and the fact that the Fifa appeal committee does not seem in a position to take a decision on the main issue early enough so that an eventual appeal of the club against its decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport would still be decided before the beginning of the next registration period.”

Barcelona will continue to follow the path of discretion in the hope that a definitive resolution can be reached

The arguments that Barcelona presented in a written report were key to making the ruling possible and revolved around three points. First, the club took refuge in the principle of the appearance of good law, which argues that the motives Barcelona is defending are reasonable ones. Second, it also stressed the principle known as perículum in mora, which warns that any delay in resolving the case could have serious consequences for the club. Third, it also made clear that Barcelona would have much more to lose if the ban was not suspended than Fifa would if it were maintained.

“Barça is not free from punishment,” said sources at the club. “We don’t want to take any risks and we will go on working with discretion. But the initial objective has been achieved.”

Goalkeeper Ter Stegen from German side Borussia Mönchengladbach and Croatian midfielder Alen Halilovic from Dinamo Zagreb could be the first new arrivals at the club, with more expected.

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