According to reports, the club was investigated by FIFA for 12 months over their youth recruitment policy. And after FIFA found out that the club had been engaged in illegally recruiting and importing non-Spanish minors over a four year period, the world football governing body handed out the transfer ban and also fined the club £306,000. (450,000 Swiss francs.)
FIFA also fined the Spanish FA £340,000 for allowing Barcelona to embark on a sustained and extended policy of what is viewed as child exploitation by the world governing body. Read FIFA's statement after the cut...
'FC Barcelona has been found to be in breach of article 19 of the regulations in the case of 10 minor players and to have committed several other concurrent infringements in the context of other players.
The disciplinary committee regarded the infringements as serious and decided to sanction the club with a transfer ban at both national and international level for two complete and consecutive transfer periods, together with a fine of 450,000 Swiss francs.
'Additionally, the club was granted a period of 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned.'
'The disciplinary committee emphasised that the protection of minors in the context of international transfers is an important social and legal issue that concerns all stakeholders in football.
'The committee highlighted that while international transfers might, in specific cases, be favourable to a young player's sporting career, they are very likely to be contrary to the best interests of the player as a minor.
'Young football players are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in a foreign country without the proper controls. This particular fact makes the protection of minors in football by the sport's governing bodies, especially by FIFA, even more important.'FIFA only allows international youth transfers when one of three situations apply: the player's parents have moved country for their own, non-related reasons; the move takes place within the European Union if a player is aged between 16 and 18; or the player's home is less than 50 kilometres from the national border being crossed.