Real Madrid are looking forward to the summer of 2017 again. However, the rest of Europe will keep a watchful eye on what the Spanish giants do now that they can sign players again.
Real Madrid's transfer ban was cut on Tuesday, allowing the club to sign new players from the summer of 2017.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) partially upheld Madrid's appeal against FIFA, barring them registering new players in the January transfer window. However, Madrid can now sign new players in the transfer period starting in June of next year.The Spanish club must also pay FIFA a reduced fine of 240,000 Swiss francs (225,000 euros, $233,000), originally 360,000 francs.
"Considering that the infractions committed by Real Madrid were less serious and less numerous than argued by the FIFA judiciary bodies, the (judge) ruled that the sanctions imposed on Real Madrid had to be reduced," the Lausanne-based court said in a statement.
Madrid denied having breached any rules on the international transfer and registration of players aged under 18.
A summer of change?
The club - who recently won the Club World Cup - complained about the verdict.
"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," Madrid said in a statement.
Arch-rivals Barcelona served a one-year signing embargo in 2015 after their appeal wasn't reduced.
"We will talk with our lawyers who were the same ones that Madrid used and find out what the differences in the two cases were. If everything was the same then the punishments should have been the same," Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu said.
Atletico Madrid is currently appealing its one-year ban at CAS.
The upheld appeal could have ramifications for several players at Real Madrid, including Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez and defender Pepe, whose contract expires at the end of the season.
jh/pfd (AP, dpa)