ZURICH (AP) — Barcelona was cleared Wednesday to sign new players during the offseason after FIFA froze the Spanish soccer club’s one-year transfer embargo pending an appeal.
Soccer’s world governing body said its appeal panel “considered that the appeal lodged by the club is to be granted suspensive effect.”
Panel chairman Larry Mussenden made the decision because the case was unlikely to be resolved before the July 1 opening of the next transfer window, FIFA said.
Barcelona can plan a transfer strategy in July and August to help protect the club against a potential ban on signing players throughout 2015.
The club has said it will pursue a further challenge against the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport if, as expected, it loses the initial appeal at FIFA.
FIFA’s disciplinary committee barred Barcelona from registering new players as punishment for signing youth players from overseas in breach of rules designed to prevent child trafficking.
Barcelona’s temporary legal victory on Wednesday follows a pattern in similar cases where the appeal process is ongoing.
Chelsea had a one-year signing ban frozen by CAS in 2009 during its dispute with FIFA over luring midfielder Gael Kakuta from French club Lens. That case was eventually resolved by the clubs before a CAS panel could reach a verdict.
Nantes will start serving a one-year transfer ban this offseason after losing its appeal at CAS in a case involving Guinea forward Ismael Bangoura, who joined the club from Al Nasr of Dubai in January 2012.