World football's governing body FIFA have temporarily lifted FC Barcelona's ban on transferring players. The Catalan club will be able to make signings this summer while they appeal the sanction.
FIFA announced the suspension in a statement on Wednesday, citing the complexity of the case and the short timeframe before the next player transfer window opens on July 1.
Barcelona had been been banned from taking part in the next two transfer windows. The club was sanctioned for breaking international transfer rules and registering players under the age of 18.
In addition to the transfer embargo, Barcelona were fined 450,000 Swiss francs ($511,000, 368,000 euros) and the Spanish Football Association (RFEF) received a fine for allowing the deals.
The Spanish Champions requested that the transfer ban be lifted while they appeal FIFA's ruling, and FIFA appeal committee chairman Larry Mussenden was in agreement.
"The chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee considered that the appeal lodged by the club is to be granted suspensive effect," FIFA said.
The decision means Barcelona will be able to sign new players beginning in July. Of particular concern was the position of goalkeeper. Current first choice man Victor Valdez announced his intention to leave the club when his contract expired at the end of the current season. Borussia Mönchengladbach keeper and Germany international Marc-Andre Ter Stegen had agreed to move to Barcelona on July 1, but the club's transfer embargo had put that signing in doubt.
Barcelona have announced their intention to continue challenging their transfer ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport if, as expected, they lose their initial appeal at FIFA.
English club Chelsea were handed a similar ban in 2010 for the signing of youngster Gael Kakuta. That was eventually overturned after Chelsea reached an agreement with Kakuta's former club Lens.
dr/hc (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)