Barcelona's transfer ban 'excessive', says Bartomeu

The Catalans have been told that they cannot sign any players in 2015 but the 51-year-old is confident that the Court of Arbitration for Sport will reduce their punishment

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu believes the club have been punished excessively for “administrative errors” for their acquisition of under-18 players which landed them a Fifa-imposed transfer ban.

The Liga outfit were fined €370,000 and told that they will not be able to sign players for the next two transfer windows after being found guilty of breaching rules relating to the registration of 10 youngsters between 2009 and 2013.

Bartomeu conceded that Barca were guilty of wrongdoing, but is adamant that the punishment does not fit the crime and hopes that the Court of Arbitration (CAS) will reduce their sentence.

“We have made some administrative errors since 2004 that weren’t in line with Fifa rules,” the Camp Nou chief told TV3. “We recognise that.

“I thought we were doing things right for those nine years, but Fifa showed us we were wrong. Now I hope CAS can help us because the punishment is excessive.

“A quick resolution would help us know how to proceed from here. We have already changed our actions to reflect what is being asked of us.”

Bartomeu also denied that Barca complained of being stitched up by external forces but he did reveal that they have an idea who may have reported them to the authorities.

“We have our suspicions, but we have never used the expression ‘mano negra’ [foul play],” he stated.

“But Fifa is still investigating and there are nine lads whose documentation will be checked.

“We have decided to be prudent and they won’t play until Fifa tells us who made the complaint.”