After nearly two years of rumors and whispers while FIFA recovered from a foundation-shaking corruption scandal, world football's governing body has rejected appeals from Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, meaning the two clubs will be hit with fines and transfer bans after irregularities in the signings of youth players came to light.
A portion of FIFA's media release is featured below.
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 for breaching articles 5, 9, 19 and 19bis as well as annexes 2 and 3 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (the "Regulations").
In addition to the year-long embargo, Atletico have been issued a fine of 900,000 Swiss francs (equivalent to around 825,000 euros) while Madrid must pay 360,000 francs (about 330,000 euros). The federation has given each club 90 days to normalize the situation after its findings.
Our club does not agree with the decision of the Appeal Committee of FIFA to reject the appeal, so it has decided to appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS / CAS).
Back in January, FIFA announced the ban plus fine for Atletico after concluding investigations on players under of the age of 18 signed by the club between 2007 and 2014. However, the appeals process took eight months to resolve and culminated in today's decision, which is as far as Atleti can take it with FIFA.
Barcelona took its transfer ban appeal all the way to the CAS in 2014 before it was rejected, and since it appears the three clubs have been punished for roughly the same things, one could stand to reason that Atletico's appeal will not be successful. However, if the process is dragged out long enough, Atleti could feasibly have the January 2017 window to sign and register players if needed.
Clubs never want to be put in this situation but Atletico began preparing for this ban last summer and are in great shape to survive it. A relatively young squad that is united in its love and admiration for its manager, Atleti should not feel the sting of critical players departing for pastures new before the ban's expiry. With a midfield that runs eight deep, a quartet of serviceable to world-class forwards and a back line that is the envy of Europe, it should be business as usual for Diego Simeone's men as they focus on overcoming a slow start to the season and continuing to grow as one of the continent's best sides.