The significant transfer ban that Barcelona were handed by FIFA earlier today for violating "several provisions concerning the international transfer and first registration of non-Spanish minors with the club, as well as other relevant regulations with regard to the registration and participation of certain players in national competitions" came as a big surprise. That the Catalan club will appeal comes as rather less of a shock.
In an online statement, Barcelona announced that they will submit an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and detailed 14 reasons for their decision. Suffice to say, some of them don't look like they'll impress the appeals panel:
Barça appear to be arguing the rules shouldn't apply to them because La Masia is a model place to train young sportspeople.— AS English (@English_AS) April 2, 2014
They say the youngsters are well-educated and well-looked after and FIFA is ignoring that Barcelona is protecting them.— AS English (@English_AS) April 2, 2014
If it's true that Barcelona have broken youth player registration rules, then the fact that they're treating them nicely probably isn't going to get them off the hook. However, it's possible that they'll manage to get an injunction, and be able to sign players while the appeal is ongoing. Watch this space.