Atletico Madrid have responded with anger after learning they will not be able to register any new players until January 2018 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld their appeal against a FIFA transfer ban.
Atletico, along with city rivals Real Madrid, were handed two-window transfer bans in January 2016 for multiple breaches of global football’s rules on the registration of under-18s and both clubs failed in their appeals to FIFA last September.
The two Spanish giants then took their cases to the CAS but, while Real saw their ban halved to one transfer window in December, Atletico announced on Thursday that the only reduction they had been given was regarding their financial penalty – down from £720,000 to £440,000.
A club statement read: “CAS maintains the prohibition to register players until January of 2018.
“They partially upheld the appeal presented by Atletico de Madrid, reducing the financial penalty but maintaining the prohibition of registering licenses this summer.”
The CAS said in a statement: “The CAS panel has confirmed the FIFA AC (appeal committee) decision with the exception of the fine of CHF 900,000 which has been reduced to CHF 550,000. As a consequence, Atletico Madrid remains banned from registering players both nationally and internationally for two complete and consecutive transfer periods.
“The panel found that not all of the alleged violations of the FIFA regulations concerning the registration of minor players could be upheld, which justified a reduction of the fine from CHF 900,000 to CHF 550,000 but not of the transfer ban imposed on the club by FIFA.”
Atletico have criticised the CAS ruling in a five-point statement on their website, describing it as “unfair” and saying they had been “penalised despite strictly complying with the Spanish legislation”.
The club also appeared to reference the case of neighbours Real, with the recently crowned Spanish champions able to sign players once again this summer after serving their reduced ban during the January transfer window.
Atletico’s statement read: “We consider that the decision to support the prohibition of registering players in a second period, corresponding to the summer of 2017, supposes a comparative disadvantage and discriminatory treatment to our entity, since recently and in a similar case, the penalty was partially lifted, allowing to register players starting on July 1st.
“This ruling is unfair and causes an irreparable damage to our club.”
Atletico’s transfer ban has seemingly ended their efforts to sign Alexandre Lacazette, with the striker now reportedly favourite to join Liverpool.