Real Madrid deny wrongdoing in signing of Zinedine Zidane's sons
The inclusion of the sons of Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane in FIFA's list of players irregularly signed by the club makes FIFA's transfer ban against Los Blancos 'absurd', club general director Jose Angel Sanchez said on Thursday.
Sanchez blasted the imposition of a transfer ban on Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid by FIFA, which prevents both clubs from signing players in the next two transfer windows for breaching rules on the international transfer and registration of players under 18 years old.
He promised that the club "would use all routes of appeal" to contest the penalty.
"The sanction is so absurd and leads to such erroneous statements, such as the sanction for the children of Zidane or the brother of [Ezequiel] Garay," Sanchez said in reference to Zidane's four sons and Garay's younger brother, Benjamin.
Both Garay brothers played in Real Madrid ranks from 2009-2011; Ezequiel is now with Zenit St Petersburg.
FIFA issued reprimands to both clubs and gave them 90 days to bring the situation of all minor players under regulations.
Real Madrid said they never used foreign underage players without registering them with the Spanish federation, as claimed by FIFA, nor signed them without complying with the required procedures. The club added that they have always informed the local federation about all the players on their youth academy, another alleged breach of regulations by the club, according to FIFA.
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"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," FIFA said in a statement.
The players at the heart of Madrid cases featured in games between 2005 and 2014, according to FIFA.
The bans follow similar punishment in 2014 for rival club Barcelona, who appealed to both FIFA and CAS against the ruling but ultimately lost both bids.
Barcelona's director of institutional relations, Albert Soler, said that he could not compare the youth system models of the Catalan club to the Madrid clubs, but specified that Barcelona have "never trafficked children."
"I don't know if their [Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid] model is like ours," Soler said. "But we never had a bad process nor did we make any mistakes."
He added that Barca are still appealing that charge before the CAS. He also said that "we have adapted and evolved... FIFA has changed its norms.
"Before you could bring players in at 14 from anywhere and now you can't," he said. "We didn't invent a new model but we are functioning on the basis of the resulting changes. The reality was one way then and now it is another."