For nearly two years, rumors have swirled in various outlets that Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid would face transfer bans for circumventing FIFA policy regarding signing young players and sending them to feeder clubs. Several months ago I analyzed a Mundo Deportivo report which claimed vengeance was nigh (it wasn’t) but tried to frame it through the lens of what a two-window ban would mean to Atletico.
Plot twist: as it turns out, now there may not even be a ban.
Report from @jpedrerol that Atletico and Real Madrid will find out about transfer bans this week. One may only be fined, rather than banned.— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) September 5, 2016
That would be Josep Pedrerol, a journalist and presenter of the television program El Chiringuito. Over at Managing Madrid, Lucas Navarrete writes that Pedrerol said both clubs could face a fine rather than a Barcelona-esque year-long ban and that a decision will be confirmed Thursday.
Should this report be accurate, it would be a major break for Atletico. While the core of the playing squad is young and the club is financially healthy, many things can change from this September to next September. Injuries, dips in form and player departures can all be unforeseen events. A fine and a slap on the wrist will go down a lot easier than a full-on ban on the eve of the club’s move to La Peineta. Keep in mind that it is still unknown what infractions Atleti and Real committed and if they are less serious than the infractions Barcelona committed and fought all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Chances are, we’ll know more Thursday.