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

LionelMessiXaviBarcelona1-AtleticoMadridUCL2014 (Getty)


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:


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.


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)


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.


  1. Transfer ban? No big deal. Just a few more Qatari development funds and Barca can claim no wrong doing.

    Business as usual and Barca can keep doing back room deals and paying transfer fees to players families.

    Nothing to see here.

  2. Wow! I’m sure they will still be a good La Liga team and competitive on the bigger stage, but with an aging team this will really be hard on them.

  3. karma is a b!+ch! all the diving finally caught up with them.

    TalkSport reported that Barca will be unable to sign or sell anyone, which makes it seem even free transfers are out of the question. a Madrid and USA win today would really wrap up this day nicely!

    • “all the diving finally caught up with them.”

      yes, now we just need transfer bans for real madrid, man u, milan, chelsea, bayern, and pretty much every other goddam team in the whole world. get on it, karma!

      • i’d have to disagree. Barca dives as a team, except for Messi whereas there may be a player or two who does it on those other teams. Robben, for example, on Bayern. for Madrid? Pepe (although Dive Maria isn’t far removed).

        Nani for United? Milan isn’t relevant right now and Chelsea i’m not familiar enough with.

        but one thing is for sure, Barca have chronic divers in Busquets, Pedro, Neymar, Mascherano, Cesc, and Alves.

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

    This is what happens when the mayor leaves

  5. Can someone clarify if Barca’s ban includes “free transfers”?? The article seems to just indicate receiving and paying transfer fees. Barca could be in some real trouble as the desperately need a replacement for Valdes and “real” CB to partner Pique. Mascherano has been deputized this season but he’s clearly not a CB and it has shown at times. For months and months Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has been pegged as Valdes replacement. I wonder what happens. There’s been some chatter that if Ter Stegen has indeed signed a pre-contract that deal will be honored.

    • Apparently, If there is already a paper deal. Ter Stegen can go to Barsca. So if they signed something in January, they are okay.

      I think the bigger problem is at CB. Were gunna see a lot of random kids playing in the Barsca defense if someone gets injured.

      • Do you have any source for this? Everything I’ve read says that it put their currently agreed to deals “in doubt.” But yeah, either way this puts them in real trouble at CB.

        And before anybody brings up the fact that Chelsea successfully appealed their ban, this is a MUCH different circumstance. Chelsea had a dispute with one club, and were able to reach a settlement (i.e. they paid Lens a pile of cash). This is multiple violations in multiple countries.

      • Ya, but its like the bleacher report. So gross. I feel dirty looking at that site but because its them. I wouldn’t consider it a sure thing.

      • come on man, Barca wouldn’t have made it WELL known they need a CB if they had someone in their academy that was ready to start and play 90 week in and week out. just because you have an elite academy does not mean they have someone ready to go at any position, at any time.

      • If they had that CB he would be playing this year in some easier games. Maybe one will show up next year but…. ya

      • exactly, that is my point. if there was a CB from the academy ready to go, we would have all heard of him by now.

        Mattinho makes it sound like they’ll be fine simply because their academy is elite. much more to it than that.

  6. Man, I remember when I didn’t have to go to ESPN to get my soccer news in the morning. Those were the glory days of SBI.

    • you do? i’ve always considered espn and other ‘big’ sites to be a better aggregator for breaking news.

      i come to sbi for the american-focused analysis and commenter community. now if you had said that the qualities of *those* had dropped off in the past year or so, i would’ve agreed.

      • What do you mean, comments dropped off? I’m still here and my comments are good. By the way, Julian Green is going to be starting tonight against Mexico. Yes he is. And he is going to be starting at least two of the three group games in Brazil with Graham Zusi on the bench. I’ll bet you. Just you wait and see. If you don’t believe me then bet me. Come on. Bet me. Please. Bet me. Bet me. Bet. Bet. Me. Me. Me.

        Dang. I think I’m losing my mind.

      • I’ll take that bet, but your going to regret because I’m the best there’s ever been – at lineup prediction.

      • Touche. However, these sites aggregate and prioritize the information in a way that makes procrastinating at work much more organized and efficient.

      • That’s true. I like this site because it tends to shy away from embarassing sensationalism, but even that has changed a bit recently.

        There were a string of posts the past few months centering on adu and green that pretty much existed solely to generate comments.

    • Give Ives a break, he is hung over from the “epic” USA-Mexico SBI party last night, followed by Garrett’s tour of AZ after party locations in the greater PHX area.

  7. Tough break for la furia roja if pique and costa’s injuries linger much longer than projected. I’d hate if costa missed out on the world cup.


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