FIFA has continued its investigation of Barcelona and is considering sanctioning the La Liga side further due to its unrepentant exploitation and trafficking of children into the club’s youth academy, La Masia.
In April 2014, FIFA issued a two-window transfer embargo on Barcelona after the Catalan giants were found guilty of repeatedly breaking rules governing transfers of international players under the age of eighteen. La Blaugrana would appeal that decision only to have the governing body of world football reject it.
Later, Barcelona took its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport where it was also denied.
Despite being unable to register new players, Barcelona have been able to complete the signings of Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan – although both players cannot officially participate in matches until the club’s ban is lifted in January 2016.
Now, it is being reported in the Spanish press that Barcelona have once again halted the signing of youth players over fear of another transfer ban.
According to AS, FIFA has once again put the La Liga champions on alert by requesting “more information” on some of its youth players in recent weeks.
Journalist Moises Llorens reports that Barcelona officials are working hard with the legal department and are in the process of regularizing the documentation of the players FIFA have targeted.
“There is a fear in the Catalan club about the academy and future youth signings,” wrote Llorens.
“There has been a full stop on bringing in talent from Spain and abroad.”
Barcelona are desperate to avoid another FIFA sanction and – despite having a ‘cadet’ squad of just 12 players to take to a tournament in Madrid this week – have now put on hold any plans to bolster their youth ranks.
The club are currently getting rid of eleven academy players. But two players who will not be leaving La Masia permanently are South Koreans wonderkids, Seung-Woo Lee and Gyeol-Hee Jang.
Barcelona believe the Koreans’ potential is big enough that they have told the youth players to remain in their home country until they come of age and can return to the Catalan side.
Lee, the brightest prospect of the two Korean players, will continue his international commitments with the national team, which finish at the end of November.
Barcelona do not want the player to participate in any of the youth side’s training sessions or friendlies, in case there is any chance of FIFA imposing further sanctions on the club.