Barcelona could face a two-and-a-half-year transfer ban following their pursuit of Antoine Griezmann.
The Spanish Double winners’ interest in the Frenchman is well-known, and it is understood a £100million deal is in place.
And, asked if there had been any contact, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently admitted: “I haven’t spoken to him this year, but with his agent in October.”
Griezmann has a contract with Atletico until 2022.
And, according to Fifa’s regulations on the status and transfer of players: “A professional shall only be free to conclude a contract with another club if his contract with his present club has expired or is due to expire within six months.
“Any breach of this provision shall be subject to appropriate sanctions.”
Various reports in Spain suggest that, if found guilty, Barcelona could face a the prospect of being unable to sign players in any of the next three to five transfer windows.
Meanwhile, Griezmann could be banned from playing for up to six months.
There is precedent for this with Chelsea facing a sanction for their pursuit of Gael Kakuta in 2009 and Roma were found guilty of signing Philippe Mexes illegally from Auxerre in 2004.
On that occasion, the defender was banned and the Giallorossi had to pay the French side extra compensation.
Griezmann came close to leaving Atletico last summer, but performed a U-turn after the club were hit with a transfer ban of their own.
Should Barcelona be found guilty, this would be the second transfer ban handed to the Catalans in recent years.
Fifa decreed they would be unable to sign any players for the entirety of 2015 — the year in which they claimed the Treble — due to concerns over the “international transfer of minors”.
While the decision did not affect the club too much, it seriously hampered the careers of Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan who signed in the summer but were unable to play for six months.
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