Real Madrid's transfer ban reduced, but Spaniards claim CAS 'lack courage'
The La Liga giants were initially stung with a two-window suspension from bringing in fresh faces, but have seen that sanction cut to one on appeal.
Real Madrid have had their two-window transfer ban reduced to one by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the club have announced.
Madrid, along with city rivals Atletico, were hit with bans in January 2016 after FIFA's Disciplinary Committee found them to be in breach of regulations "relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18".
Spanish champions Barcelona were hit with a similar sanction in 2014.
An appeal to FIFA failed in September, prompting Madrid to take their claim to CAS.
The two-window ban had been suspended while the investigation continued but Madrid were facing up to the prospect of not being able to register new players for the entirety of 2017.
That punishment has now been halved with the European champions able to strengthen their squad when the window opens at the end of the current season, although they will be inactive in January.
Despite CAS ruling partially in their favour, Madrid released a statement in which they outlined their displeasure at the verdict and that initially delivered by FIFA.
The statement read: "The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has today informed Real Madrid CF of their decision by which they have partially upheld the appeal lodged by the club against the FIFA resolution which imposed a sanction forbidding the signing of players for two transfer windows, reducing said sanction to just one period, corresponding to the January 2017 transfer window.
"The decision highlights the injustice of the original ban imposed by FIFA, although the club regrets that the CAS lacked the courage to revoke the ruling entirely."
In explaining their decision, a CAS statement read: "The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the arbitration between Real Madrid and FIFA.
"The Spanish club's appeal was partially accepted. Therefore, the decision of the FIFA Appeals Board (FIFA) is cancelled and replaced by this CAS decision in which the following elements have been modified: Real Madrid are prohibited from registering new players, both nationally and internationally, during a full transfer period (initially two periods); Real Madrid must pay a fine of CHF240,000 (initially CHF 360,000) (£225,000, initially £337,000)."
The CAS statement added: "In summary, the sole arbitrator determined that certain offences alleged by FIFA could be confirmed, but not all.
"Given that the violations committed by Real Madrid were less serious and fewer than the FIFA judicial authorities had affirmed, the sole arbitrator found that the sanctions imposed on Real Madrid had to be reduced."
FIFA's investigation concerned players aged under 18 who played in competitions for Atletico between 2007 and 2014, and Madrid from 2005-2014.
Atletico have yet to announce the CAS verdict on their case.
Madrid's ruling could have wide-ranging implications for a number of their players and those at other clubs.
James Rodriguez has already stated he may look to leave the club due to a lack of playing time and, while Madrid may be unwilling to lose the Colombia forward in January, they may now sanction his exit in June 2017.
In terms of acquisitions, Madrid are likely to ramp up their interest in Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has often spoken of his desire to play for the European champions.
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