'EPL sides risk transfer ban as well'

Real manager Zinedine Zidane's two sons, who play in the Real academy, were among 39 players investigated by Fifa.
Real manager Zinedine Zidane's two sons, who play in the Real academy, were among 39 players investigated by Fifa. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Barcelona have served a transfer ban, while fellow Spanish giants Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are facing a similar embargo. But could some Premier League clubs be facing such restrictions in the near future?

According to Real's director general Jose Angel Sanchez, a number of top-flight clubs in England are being investigated by Fifa for breaching rules on signing foreign players under the age of 18.

Fifa announced on Thursday that it had banned Real and neighbours Atletico from registering players for the next two windows for flouting rules on signing non-Spanish Under-18 players. Both clubs denied wrongdoing and said they would appeal.

Speaking to the El Larguero programme on Spanish radio network Cadena Ser, Sanchez said: "I have relations with British clubs and I know for a fact that in many of these cases, the disciplinary investigations had already started a while ago.

"I imagine that Fifa's resources for these investigations are limited and Fifa cannot do everything at the same time but I have the impression that this is being done at European level and that more cases will follow, one after the other."

In another interview with Onda Cero, he said: "I know for a fact that Fifa has already opened investigations into some of them. I don't know if it has already reached the disciplinary stage.

"I have the feeling there will be a lot of cases in the next couple of years."

Real manager Zinedine Zidane has labelled the one-year transfer ban imposed on his club as "absurd". Two of his sons, who play in the Real academy, were among 39 players investigated by Fifa with the club eventually sanctioned for breaking the rules in eight cases.

"It seems absurd because they (his sons) have lived their whole lives here in Madrid with family and it will be fixed," said the Frenchman, adding that he is happy with his squad and has not spoken to the club about new signings in the current window. "The most important thing is that we know what has happened now. I think it will be fixed with time and next week we won't speak of this any more."

Atletico manager Diego Simeone is also not keen on talking about the ban until all appeal routes have been exhausted.

"I am not going to waste energy in this situation because what interests me is that things go well (on the field)," he said. "With the appeal, anything can happen. Until there is a clearer situation after the appeal, I can't make any more comment."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2016, with the headline ''EPL sides risk transfer ban as well''. Print Edition | Subscribe