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FIFA list of transfer-banned clubs includes top-tier teams in Africa

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FIFA published a new database  of clubs serving bans on registering new players that included some top African teams, six in Saudi Arabia and five in the top league of Argentina.

The sanctioned clubs include San Lorenzo of Argentina, Wydad of Morocco and TP Mazembe of Congo which since 2010 have all won continental championships and then played at the FIFA Club World Cup.

FIFA can impose the bans typically for two or three trading windows after clubs break transfer regulations or have unpaid transfer debts to other clubs. In some cases bans can be lifted by settling the debt, as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Saudi club Al Nassr did last year in a case with Leicester.

Clubs banned from registering players — in cases often called “transfer bans” — can sign new players though are prevented from fielding them in games because of being unable to register them with the national federation.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid all served FIFA registration bans in the past decade in cases involving signing youth players in international deals. The bans are typically frozen until appeals are completed.

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In similar cases in 2019, Chelsea served a ban in one trading window before winning its case on appeal, and Manchester City avoided a ban by paying FIFA a fine of 370,000 Swiss francs ($432,000) in 2019.

The current list features three of the eight clubs which played in the inaugural African Football League this season — Wydad of Morocco, Esperance of Tunisia and TP Mazembe of Congo. Another African power, Zamalek of Egypt, is included though details of their cases are not published.

“The primary objective of this new tool is to provide stakeholders, including players and clubs, as well as the general public, with an overview of all clubs currently prevented from registering new players,” FIFA said in a statement.

Saudi Pro League clubs Al Raed and Al Wehda both recently had registration bans imposed for three trading windows, and four second-tier clubs also are on the FIFA list: Al Faisaly, Al Qaisumah, Jeddah and Ohod.

Clubs in Argentina currently unable to register new players are Banfield, Central Cordoba, Independiente, San Lorenzo and Union.

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The FIFA database Thursday included 78 listings for cases involving Chinese clubs and multiple cases in Ukraine where clubs have lost revenue from ticket sales, broadcast and sponsor deals during the Russian military invasion.

-AP

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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