Barcelona chief: Real Madrid shouldn't be punished, change transfer rules
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has suggested the club can find ways around their current transfer ban, while saying he does not wish La Liga rivals Real Madrid to be similarly sanctioned if also found guilty by FIFA of breaking youth transfer rules.
Barcelona were found guilty in early 2014 of breaching the regulations regarding the signing of players under 16, and after first claiming to have done nothing wrong, the club have eventually accepted that mistakes had been made.
Since the ban was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, local reports have claimed that Barca were looking at ways of at least in part getting around the punishment, such as signing players and letting them remain at their current club until the ban term ends next year, or loaning them elsewhere.
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The Blaugrana chief told RAC 1 that he expected potential new marquee signings to play a role in the club's upcoming presidential election.
"Barca will be able to sign whoever the club wants, another thing is that [the new player] would not be able to play until January 2016," Bartomeu said. "Of course there will be talk about players during the presidential elections. There are ways of doing it."
It has more recently emerged that FIFA were investigating other Spanish clubs for similar breaches of the youth transfer regulations, with Real Madrid denying forcefully that they had any case to answer over its signing of youngsters from overseas.
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Bartomeu suggested he would prefer a general amnesty rather than Madrid or other sides being hit with bans, hinting that if not further legal battles could ensue.
"It is clear that there are other clubs involved," he said. "[Spanish FA president] Angel Maria Villar has already warned us that there are other Spanish clubs being investigated.
"I do not want others to be punished, I want FIFA to change the regulations and for Blatter to reflect. This case could be the 'Barca Case,' as it was the 'Bosman Case,' due to the LFP's court complaint to FIFA. Each club has its sporting policy. I do not know what Madrid's is."
Spanish media reports have suggested that La Liga's biggest clubs believe each other to be behind the initial complaints to FIFA, but Bartomeu played down any suggestion of "dirty tricks."
"That it was our turn first, and then others, is a question for FIFA," he said. "It all comes from an anonymous complaint about the player [Seung-Woo] Lee. We do not know who made the complaint, they do not want to tell us. The problem is FIFA's, they need to change this article. Over its history Barca has suffered from injustices, this is another one."