Atletico Madrid lawyer optimistic over success of transfer ban court appeal
Atletico Madrid should be able to sign players in the summer after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hears their appeal against a FIFA transfer ban, the club's lawyer has said.
In January 2016, Atletico and Real Madrid were banned from all transfer activity during the summer and winter windows after FIFA found they had broken laws on the international transfers of players aged under 16.
Both clubs appealed to the CAS, and Real Madrid had their punishment halved in December, meaning they can register new players from July 1.
Atletico's appeal is reportedly due to be heard on April 24, with the decision potentially having an effect on the futures of star forward Antoine Griezmann and coach Diego Simeone.
Lawyer Christian Keidel told AS: "I'm optimistic about our chances of success in this case as the origin of the problem is situated in Spanish law and the regulations of its federation, not the behaviour of Atletico with these players.
"The Spanish federation did not apply the laws correctly, and our view is that you cannot blame Atletico for that.
"It is the same with Real Madrid. [Zinedine] Zidane's son, for example, had lived in Madrid a long time but was supposedly illegal.
"Basically the FIFA rule is you cannot sign young foreign players to protect these kids.
"But the rule does not stand when the player already lives in that country for another reason."
He said the case with Atletico was "the same -- the players named are not Spanish nationals, but most were born in Spain."
Keidel added that "the Spanish FA did not make these exceptions clear to FIFA's commission."
Meanwhile Atletico's fitness coach, Oscar Ortega, told AS he hoped the club could face Real Madrid in the Champions League final and get revenge for defeats by them in the 2014 and 2016 finals.
"We are born competitors and we like that idea," he said. "Why not meet a third time to try and fulfil the dream of winning the Champions League?
"It is very difficult for a team to lift themselves up after losing in two finals as we have. But we have a tremendous motivation to reach a third final."
Ortega warned, however, that Atleti would face a tough task to get past Leicester in the quarterfinals.
"It will be difficult -- nobody gifts you anything at this stage of the competition," he said. "We need to be really, really focused."
Asked whether Simeone and his staff would stay until Atletico had won a first ever Champions League, he added: "Nobody knows the future. He [Simeone] has said this before.
"What is certain is that we want to win it. If not this year, then another. We are very motivated."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan