A report in Wednesday’s AS has suggested five reasons why Real Madrid were let off the hook by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and not Barcelona.
Madrid had their embargo for the next two transfer windows reduced to just the one on appeal, allowing them to resume their market business in the summer.
This comes despite Barca losing their appeal, which left them unable to register new players throughout 2015, and both clubs using the same law firm, Pinto Ruiz and Del Valle, for their defences.
However, AS explains that firstly an anonymous tip led FIFA to investigate 33 minors who arrived at La Masia from 2009.
The Catalans were found to have breached FIFA regulations in 10 of those cases, specifically concerning South Korean trio Lee Seung-woo, Paik Seung-ho and Jang Gyeol-hee.
FIFA had already warned Barca of the irregularities they were committing before their punishment, which the club ignored, whereas Madrid responded immediately to the same request.
Secondly, Barca’s minors were signed off by the Catalan Football Federation and not the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), which was fined as a result.
Madrid, on the other hand, went via their city’s own federation, which in turn processed the licences with RFEF.
Thirdly, Madrid complied with the principle of legality in showing a will to amend their errors, while Barca did not.
The Catalans were also unable to present mitigating evidence to CAS and found to have breached more regulations on minors than Madrid, despite Los Blancos being investigated for 39.
Fourthly, heading Madrid’s defence was lawyer Lucas Ferrer, who had been employed by CAS for almost five years and consequently was able to prepare for the case thoroughly and use several witnesses, namely relatives of the minors affected, an RFEF director and a professor in constitutional law.
Finally, Josep Maria Bartomeu’s decision to break Barca’s institutional relations with FIFA contrasted with Madrid opting to keep the status quo.
Los Merengues also tried to get as close as possible to new FIFA President Gianni Infantino, given Sepp Blatter was still at the helm when the club were first penalised.