Barcelona blocked from signing Vermaelen replacement outside of the transfer window


Barcelona, who have a one-year transfer embargo beginning on January 1, 2015, have been denied special permission to sign a defender to replace the injured Thomas Vermaelen.

The Catalan Giants sought an emergency signing under “exceptional situations” in Spanish federation rules due to Vermaelen’s long term injury for which he hasn’t played a match since his $22.5 million summer transfer from Arsenal.

FIFA swept in quickly, however, and informed Barcelona that no such deal would be permitted as the disciplinary committee did not “conceive an exception” for signing players “outside the official periods of registration.”

The ban was imposed on Barcelona after the club was found guilty of breaking rules on international signings of young players. Their punishment, a one year transfer ban that takes effect in January, is pending an appeal verdict this month from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

So what, exactly, is going on here?

In La Liga , clubs are permitted to register a new player if a member of their squad suffers an injury that rules them out for more than five months. Barcelona is attempting to access this potential loophole as the five month injury period for Vermaelen will be up at the end of December. In other words, they’re looking to “register” a player rather than “transfer” one into the club. FIFA, however, are on to them and having none of it.