MADRID, Spain January 5 – Barcelona on Monday sacked their sports director Andoni Zubizarreta, just days after the main international sports appeal court backed a one year transfer ban against the Spanish giants.
“The FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has decided to terminate as of today the contract of the Club’s Director of Football, Andoni Zubizarreta,” the club said in a statement.
“The President, in the name of the Club, thanks Andoni Zubizarreta for his contribution, dedication and professionalism over the last four years in his role at the head of the Club’s football area.”
The announcement comes after the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on December 30 dismissed a Barcelona appeal against the FIFA ban imposed in April for breaching rules on signing players aged under 18.
Barcelona cannot buy players during the transfer window that opens on January 1 and for the summer transfer period before the 2015-16 season.
They can only open the cheque book again in January 2016.
Barcelona were also fined 450,000 Swiss francs ($455,000, 375,000 euros). The Spanish federation was also reprimanded by FIFA and fined.
The club said they “totally disagree” with the sanction which they called “disproportionate” and “excessive”.
The Catalan side acknowledged making “errors” but said these were caused by “conflict between FIFA regulations and Spanish legislation.”
FIFA ordered the ban in April after an investigation into several under-18 players who were registered and played for Barcelona between 2009 and 2013.
It found that Barcelona and the Spanish federation were guilty of a “serious” infringement of rules for 10 players.