FIFA spurn Barca hope of Rafinha replacement

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Barcelona’s hopes of being able to register one of their new signings to replace injured Brazilian midfielder Rafinha before their transfer ban is completed have been rejected by FIFA, according to Barca coach Luis Enrique.

Rafinha is set to miss the rest of the season after suffering cruciate ligament damage in the European champions’ 1-1 draw at Roma in midweek.

Barca have been handed a one-year ban on registering new players, effective from January this year, after breaking FIFA rules on the signing of foreign players under the age of 16.

However, the Catalans still signed Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal in the summer transfer window despite the fact they won’t be allowed to play until early next year.

“The club already consulted FIFA a few months ago and the answer was no,” Luis Enrique said on Saturday.

“I can say that we won’t be able to count on the players we have signed until January.”

The lack of options on offer to the Barcelona coach has been exacerbated by a raft of early season injuries as Thomas Vermaelen will also miss Sunday’s visit of Levante, while Gerard Pique completes his four-game suspension.

However, Dani Alves may be fit to return at right-back after a three-week absence as he returned to training on Friday.


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