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Initial thoughts on Real Madrid’s transfer ban being partially upheld by CAS

Real Madrid logo on flag
Wednesday, 28 December 2016 By John Shea

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) announced on 20th December 2016[1] that Real Madrid’s appeal against FIFA’s decision to ban the club from registering players for two consecutive transfer windows and fine them 360,000 Swiss Francs for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18 was partially upheld. As a result, Real Madrid’s transfer ban was reduced to one transfer window (January 2017) and its fine was also reduced to 240,000 Swiss Francs.


By way of a reminder, FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee announced in January 2016[2] that Real Madrid, along with Atletico Madrid, were found to have breached several provisions “concerning the international transfer and first registration of minor players as well as other relevant provisions with regard to the registration and participation of certain players in competitions.”  The main provision is Article 19 of FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (“RSTP”) which prohibits the international transfer and first registration of foreign players under the age of 18 except in limited circumstances. The other relevant provisions that both clubs were found to have breached included Articles 5, 9 and 19bis plus Annexes 2 and 3 of the RSTP. Please read my previous blog[3] for more background to the case and a more detailed explanation of the regulations.

The sanctions imposed by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee were suspended[4] later in January 2016 pending both clubs’ appeals to FIFA’s Appeal Committee, thus allowing them to sign players in the summer 2016 transfer window. FIFA’s Appeal Committee rejected the appeals in September 2016[5] and so both clubs appealed the decision to CAS. The Spanish FA were also sanctioned in October 2016[6] for breaches of Article 19 and other relevant provisions in relation to the registration and participation of certain players in competitions.


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John Shea

John Shea

John is a senior associate in the Sports Business Group at Lewis Silkin specialising in contentious, regulatory and disciplinary issues for clubs, agencies, governing bodies and athletes

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