FIFA uphold transfer bans for Real Madrid and Atletico

MADRID: Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have lost their appeals against one-year transfer bans by FIFA for breaking rules protecting underage players.

On Thursday, FIFA's appeals committee dismissed challenges by both clubs after transfer embargoes were imposed in January.

The bans were later frozen pending the appeals verdicts.

The Madrid clubs have been blocked from registering new players until January 2018. The teams can make deals to sign players but cannot register them to play.

"Both clubs are to serve a transfer ban that prevents them from registering any players at national and international level for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods," FIFA said in a statement. "The transfer ban applies to each club as a whole — with the exception of the women's, futsal, and beach soccer teams — and does not prevent the release of players."

Both clubs denied wrongdoing in the matter, which was related to signing teenage players whose registration was accepted by the Spanish Football Federation.

The players involved featured in games from 2005 to 2014.

Real Madrid said in a statement it "lamented" the decision, calling it "unjust."

The club said it will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and it was optimistic about a reversal of FIFA's ruling.

Atletico was also appealing.

"Our club does not agree with the decision ... so it has decided to appeal it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport," it said in a statement, adding that it had already hired "a team of international experts to defend the case and protect the rights" of the club.

"Our organization wishes to express that 100 percent of the licenses of our players that are part of this investigation and are still in the club, have been regularized by FIFA, receiving the authorization from the subcommittee in order to process their licenses and compete in their different categories," Atletico said.

FIFA also upheld fines of 900,000 Swiss francs ($930,000) for Atletico and 360,000 Swiss francs ($370,000) for Madrid.

It said both clubs "have been issued with a reprimand and a warning and given 90 days in which to regularize the situation of all minor players concerned."

Barcelona served a similar sanction for 2015 after stalling the transfer ban to enable them to sign players in the 2014 window. The Catalan club signed players such as Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal after the ban took effect again, but couldn't register them until after the ban period.