Barcelona await verdict after transfer ban appeal to CAS
Barcelona are awaiting the result of an appeal against a FIFA sanction for an alleged breach of rules on the transfer of foreign under-18 players after a hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday.
Barca`s lawyers, as well as Carles Folguera, the director of the club`s academy, Esther Balmana, the head of a local school many academy recruits attend, and B team youngsters Joseph Fabrice Ondoa from Cameroon and Elohor Godswill of Nigeria helped present the club`s case at the court in Lausanne.
CAS has said it will publish the verdict before the end of the year.
Soccer`s world governing body FIFA announced in April it had banned Barca from the transfer market for two consecutive windows and fined them 450,000 Swiss francs (460,217 US dollars).
Barcelona denied any wrongdoing and the ban was suspended pending an initial appeal to FIFA, meaning the Catalan club were able to buy and sell players in the close season.
FIFA rejected the initial appeal in August and if CAS do not admit the latest and final challenge, or reduce the sanction, the club will be barred from conducting any business in the January window and the 2015 summer transfer window.
Barca president Josep Bartomeu has fiercely defended their "La Masia" academy, which has produced the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, saying the club have been the victims of a "grave injustice".
"With this sanction, FIFA is punishing a model that has existed for 35 years and which is the essence of this club," he told reporters in April.
"FIFA knows that we do things well and we look after the children and give them an education that perhaps they wouldn`t get in their own country," he added.
"We are not prepared in any way to give up our educational model. We have defended, continue to defend and will always defend the rights of minors."