Wednesday Kickoff: Barca hit with FIFA transfer ban; Costa and Pique suffer injuries; and more

Wednesday Kickoff: Barca hit with FIFA transfer ban; Costa and Pique suffer injuries; and more

South American Soccer

Wednesday Kickoff: Barca hit with FIFA transfer ban; Costa and Pique suffer injuries; and more

LionelMessiXaviBarcelona1-AtleticoMadridUCL2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

If Barcelona thought that their off-the-field troubles were behind them after dealing with Neymar’s controversial transfer, they thought wrong.

In a stunning move on Wednesday, FIFA levied a 14-month transfer ban on Barcelona for the transfer and registration of multiple non-Spanish players under the age of 18. FIFA also fined Barcelona CHF 450,000 ($508,877) and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) CHF 500,000 ($565,419) for the breaches in transfer regulations.

In a press release from FIFA, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee wrote: “The RFEF and FC Barcelona were found to have violated several provisions concerning the international transfer and first registration of non-Spanish minors with the club, as well as other relevant regulations with regard to the registration and participation of certain players in national competitions.

“The investigations concerned several minor players who were registered and participated in competitions with the club over various periods between 2009 and 2013.”

It’s not clear yet whether Barcelona would be unable to sign players on free transfers or if they’d be able to sign players that they’ve already agreed to sign, such as the reported transfer of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barcelona have ten days to appeal the decision. The club already knew that Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes would be leaving the Camp Nou this summer and are in need of new signings at goalkeeper, defense, and in midfield.

Here are some more stories to start your Wednesday:

BARCA AND ATLETI LOSE CRUCIAL PLAYERS

When Barcelona and Atletico Madrid face off in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal bout, they’ll both be missing key players.

Both Atletico’s Diego Costa and Barcelona’s Gerard Pique were substituted out of the match in the first half after suffering serious injuries, and will miss the return leg next Wednesday. Costa was diagnosed with a hamstring injury while Pique suffered a hairline hip fracture and will miss at least one month.

The injury leaves Barcelona without one of their few natural defenders while Atletico will be without their high-flying scoring threat.

QUICK KICKS

A study conducted by FIFPro, the world soccer union, found that one in four soccer players suffer from anxiety or depression. (REPORT)

The Dutch FA is investigating links between Chelsea and Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem after a former Vitesse owner claimed in a newspaper article that Chelsea had blocked certain Vitesse transfers and had forced Vitesse to lose matches in order to not qualify for the UEFA Champions League. (REPORT)

Tottenham say they hope to move into their new 58,000 seat stadium in 2017. (REPORT)

If Inter Milan don’t qualify for at least the Europa League for next season, head coach Walter Mazzari will be let go. (REPORT)

Hannover 96 have been fined €100,000 by the German Football Federation (DFB) for fan violence at a recent match against Eintracht Braunschweig. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Surprised that FIFA is coming down hard on Barcelona? Do you expect the decision to be overturned? Which loss, Pique or Costa, is more significant?

Share your thoughts below.

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