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England on alert as Barcelona handed transfer ban

Barcelona was handed an 18-month transfer ban by FIFA.
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

English clubs learned Wednesday that they probably won’t be battling it out with Barcelona in the transfer market for the next year and a half.

The Spanish champions were handed an 18-month transfer ban from FIFA for breaking rules signing international players under the age of 18.

As a result, Barcelona can not buy or sell players until the summer of 2015. The penalty also includes a fine of £305,000.

While Barcelona will have to deal withe decisions such as Victor Valdes, who was planning on leaving the club after this season, English teams will be able to go after some top internationals without the threat of the Catalan side intervening.

However, top goalkeeping prospect Marc-Andre ter Stergen and Croatian midfielder Alen Halilovic are already off the board having agreed to terms with the Spanish giants previously.

FIFA would not disclose the names of the players in question, deciding instead to keep them confidential.

“On the basis of analysis, the committee concluded that the interest in protecting the appropriate and healthy development of a minor as a whole must prevail over purely sporting interest,” a spokesperson told BBC Sport.