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Barcelona chief admits 'irregularities'

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe explains the two reasons why this summer has been so important for Barcelona.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has maintained his stance that the transfer ban imposed by FIFA is excessive but admitted that the club had "committed certain irregularities" in the past.

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In April, world football's governing body banned Barca from signing any players for two consecutive transfer windows after they were found guilty of breaching regulations designed to avoid the exploitation and trafficking of young players.

That ban was suspended while FIFA considered an appeal by the club, but officials last week rejected the appeal and confirmed that the sanction would stay in place.

Barca then said they would take their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but no date for a hearing has so far been set.

Speaking to the club's official website after the opening La Liga win over Elche at the Camp Nou on Saturday, Bartomeu said he had always known that the case would end up at the CAS. He stressed that he still thought FIFA's punishment was "too big" even though the club had committed "certain irregularities."

"We were aware that FIFA would ratify its sanction," he said. "In the past, we have committed certain irregularities -- but always respecting the spirit of the regulation. We knew that we'd end up going to the CAS, and now that time has come."

Bartomeu said Barca's 150 million summer outlay on players including Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Claudo Bravo, Marc Andre Ter-Stegen, Jermey Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen had been made in the knowledge that the club might not be able to sign again for another 18 months.

"We knew that we might not be able to make signings in the next two transfer windows and that at the same time there was a pressing need to renew the squad," he explained.

"It was highly unlikely that the tribunal would not ratify a sanction that had already been imposed. It was only to be expected... but the penalty is far too big."

It was possible that Barca would spend even more money in the days before the transfer window closes, he added, saying: "Let's see what happens over the next few days."

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