Real Madrid, Atletico, Barcelona united in criticism of 'unfair' Fifa transfer ban ruling
Spanish club football's leading trio Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona expressed their disagreement on Friday with the recently-confirmed transfer bans imposed on Atletico and Real by world football governing body FIFA for breaking rules protecting underage players.
Madrid: Spanish club football's leading trio Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona expressed their disagreement on Friday with the recently-confirmed transfer bans imposed on Atletico and Real by world football governing body Fifa for breaking rules protecting underage players.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said the ban was "absurd" and "unfair" at a Madrid press conference on Friday focused on the aftermath of the Fifa sanction, reports Efe.
"I don't understand anything. It's unfair, absurd. We're going to wait and hope the issue gets resolved," the French manager said.
Zidane's sons Enzo and Luca, both players in Real Madrid's youth teams, were involved in the Fifa investigation due to alleged irregularities in their registration.
The football authority had argued that Zidane's children had been officially registered as already living in Madrid when they entered the club, but their actual place of residence at the time was outside Spain. Real Madrid disputes these claims.
Fifa maintains a strict control over transferring minors across international borders.
When asked about how the ban had affected him personally, Zidane said: "It bothers me. The club will do everything in its power to overturn this sanction. I hope things get fixed quickly."
Atletico coach Diego Simeone at first declined to comment on the Fifa sanction during another press conference on Friday but later conceded it was "difficult to determine" whether his current roster would hold up for almost two years.
Atletico and Real have been banned from signing any new players until the end of the 2016-2017 season, although they cannot register them to play until January 2018.
FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, on the other hand, harshly criticised Fifa's ban on the Catalan team's two main league rivals, describing it as "unfair".
"I can't remember what I said about our own sanction... that it was unfair? If I said that, I maintain that line," Enrique said at a Barcelona presser ahead of Saturday's La Liga match against Alaves.
Barcelona suffered the same two-term ban in the summer of 2014 that prevented the club from signing any new players until January 2016.
In February 2013, Fifa found that Barcelona had violated regulations governing the transfer of minors when it signed 10 players under the age of 18 to its renowned academy La Masia.
"We overcame the ban and won titles. This is how it works, you just have to accept it; but still, both clubs have great teams," he added.
Real Madrid and Atletico lost their appeals to Fifa's Appeal Committee on Thursday when the governing body issued a verdict upholding the sanctions.
Both Spanish teams have announced they would bring a further appeal to the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The US-owned outfit will not be allowed to sign new players for four transfer windows starting from next January 2022, along with two northern amateur sides.
In his previous contract, signed in 2017, Messi earned a massive 138 million euros ($163 million) per season.
LaLiga: Complaint accusing Barcelona's Lionel Messi of fraud, money laundering dismissed by Spanish court
Federico Rettori, an Argentine national living in Spain who claims he formerly worked for Messi's charity, had filed a similar complaint in 2019 which was also dismissed.