Atletico Madrid will not be able to register new players this summer after their transfer ban appeal was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
CAS’ announcement comes just a day after Atleti were reportedly “confident” about their embargo being overturned.
However, a report later on Wednesday suggested Los Colchoneros were involved in 65 “serious” cases of illegally signing underage players.
Atleti and city rivals Real Madrid were initially banned in January 2016 after both clubs were found guilty of breaching rules in signing foreign minors, but the latter have since been cleared.
It represents a huge blow in the way of Atleti’s transfer plans for the summer, with Marca claiming Diego Costa, Fabinho, Vitolo, Sandro Ramirez and Alexandre Lacazette had been lined up.
They must now decide whether to reintegrate loanees Matias Kranevitter, Luciano Vietto and Diego Jota or take a chance on convincing the aforementioned quartet to accept being sidelined until the New Year.
Barcelona were handed the same punishment in 2015 but did sign Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal that summer, although neither player could make their debut until the following January.