In Depth

Real Madrid ban halved: Will it affect the January transfer window?

Spanish club will be able to sign players next summer - and that could have an impact on Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United's plans

Real Madrid have had their transfer ban halved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, meaning they will be able to sign new players this summer.

The move could have major repercussions for the January transfer window. Some players and agents may prefer to wait and see what impact the Spanish giants' summer transfer business has on the rest of the market. 

But it could also stimulate transfer activity in the New Year, as the Spanish club may be prepared to sell players next month, knowing that replacements can be brought in at the end of the season in June.

"The news caps a strong end to the year for the club, who earlier this week won the Club World Cup in Yokohama," reports the Daily Telegraph. The paper says Real Madrid could already be planning a summer swoop for Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been linked with several Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United.

"Both Real and fellow Spanish side Atletico Madrid were banned after breaching rules over the transfer of foreign players under the age of 18," reports the BBC. The one-year ban effectively prevented them from signing players until 2018.

However, the CAS has now halved the ban after a hearing earlier this month, and the club's fine of almost £300,000 has also been reduced by a third.

"No information has been given regarding Atletico's appeal against their ban and fine," adds the BBC.

Despite the news Real Madrid were still unhappy. "The decision highlights the injustice of the original ban imposed by Fifa, although the club regrets that the CAS lacked the courage to revoke the ruling entirely," it said.

Nevertheless, the new ruling "could have wide-ranging implications for a number of their players and those at other clubs", says FourFourTwo.

Real Madrid's midfielder James Rodriguez, who is said to be unhappy at the Bernabeu, may now be allowed to leave, it says, as a replacement could be brought in at the end of the season. FourFourTwo also highlights Real's interest in Aubameyang.

A deal for Aubemeyang could mean that current Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema may be available in the summer, while Chelsea and Manchester United may harbour concerns that the Spanish giants will come after star players Eden Hazard and David de Gea at the end of the current campaign.

What Real Madrid transfer ban means for De Gea, Hazard, Ronaldo and Bale

15 January

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have been banned by Fifa from registering new signings for the next two transfer windows. The swingeing punishment, announced on Thursday, is the latest blow to the reputation of Spanish football following Barcelona's ban for financial mismanagement in 2014.

What is the ban for?

Fifa released a press statement outlining the reasons behind the ban, which explained: "The two clubs were found to have violated several provisions concerning the international transfer and first registration of minor players as well as other relevant provisions with regard to the registration and participation of certain players in competitions."

The Fifa statement said their investigations had focused on young players who were "involved and participated in competitions with the clubs" over various periods between 2005 and 2014.

What does that mean?

Fifa has strict rules governing the transfer of players under the age of 18. Barcelona fell foul of them in 2014 and now the two Madrid clubs have also been penalised.

The regulations stipulate where players can move based on their age, the addresses of their parents and the location of the club.

The Madrid clubs are said to have flouted those rules to bring in young talents from around the world and as many as 50 players are said to be involved, bizarrely they include the sons of Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, who were not technically eligible to join his club.

Is there any other punishment?

In addition to the bans Atletico Madrid were hit with a 900,000 Swiss francs fine (£622,000) while Real must cough up 360,000 Swiss francs (£249,000). Fifa also warned the two clubs they they have 90 days "in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned".

When does the ban start?

The ban doesn't start until after January's transfer window (which closes at 11pm on February 1st) and while it doesn't stop players leaving either club, as of next month neither Real nor Atletico will be able to register new players until the summer of 2017.

On paper, they will also still be able to sign new players, but they will not be able to don the jersey until the bans come to an end.

Will the pair appeal?

Atletico released a statement in response to the ban, in which they promised to fight the penalty. "Our club is not in agreement with the sanction from international football's governing body and will study all the documentation we've received to present an appeal against the sanction."

Real also issued a statement, refuting the charges and declaring the club "will appeal this decision of Fifa in all the sporting incidents, considering them absolutely inappropriate".

Are the appeals likely to be successful?

Barcelona went down a similar appeal path after their punishment was announced in April 2014 but were unable to overturn the ban even at the court of arbitration for sport.

What does it mean for Atletico?

The Daily Mirror suspects Diego Simeone anticipated a ban and that's why the heart of his team - Angel Correa, Jose Maria Gimenez, Jan Oblak and Antoine Griezmann - "have either signed new deals over the last seven days or are in the process of discussing them".

The highly-rated Griezmann is still negotiating his new deal and the ban is likely to mean the French striker can get better terms by threatening to leave the club if they're not met. The arrival of Augusto Fernandez and Matias Kranevitter this month also means Atletico have some fresh talent with which to see them through the next 18 months.

And for Real?

The ban is a huge blow to Real, and as The Independent reports it throws their "transfer interest in David De Gea and Eden Hazard into serious doubt".

The Manchester United keeper was very close to leaving Old Trafford for the Spanish capital last summer only for the move to fall through because of uncompleted paperwork. He had been expected to head to the Bernabeu this summer but that's now out of the question.

Similarly, rumours had been strengthening in recent weeks that Eden Hazard was destined for Real but new coach Zinedine Zidane will have to hang on until 2017 to land the Chelsea midfielder

What are the implications of the ban for other European clubs?

Paris Saint-German can forget about signing Cristiano Ronaldo, tipped to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the French capital next season, as Real are unlikely to sell their main goal scorer if they can't bring in a replacement.

As for Manchester United, they can kiss goodbye to any hopes of Gareth Bale turning up at Old Trafford in the near future. As the Mirror says the Welshman "will almost certainly stay" at the Bernabeu for the duration.

And the Daily Telegraph says Chelsea striker Diego Costa "will not be welcoming the ban" because he was hoping to return to Atletico in June after struggling at the Bridge this season "but Fifa's decision today would appear to shred those hopes".

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