Real Madrid's transfer ban cut on appeal at CAS

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Real Madrid's transfer ban was cut on Tuesday, allowing the club to sign new players sooner than expected.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport partially upheld Madrid's appeal against FIFA, keeping the team barred from registering new players only in the January trading period. But Madrid can now sign new players in the offseason transfer period starting in June.

FIFA had imposed a one-year transfer ban in January. Its appeal panel confirmed the sanction to take effect for 2017.

Madrid must also pay FIFA a fine of 240,000 Swiss francs ($233,000), reduced from 360,000 Swiss francs ($350,000) by the single judge who heard the case.

"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 court said in a statement.

Still, the club — which on Sunday added the Club World Cup trophy to its Champions League title — 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.

The court gave an urgent ruling Tuesday and is expected to publish its full reasons in several weeks.

Madrid denied wrongdoing in signing young players from outside Spain who played in games since 2005.

The case involved the sons of current coach Zinedine Zidane.

Madrid's signings were registered by the Spanish soccer federation, which has repeatedly allowed clubs to break FIFA rules designed to prevent trafficking of minors. FIFA previously fined the federation 220,000 Swiss francs ($214,000).

Barcelona served a one-year signing embargo in 2015, and Atletico Madrid is currently appealing its one-year ban at CAS.

Atletico has accepted not to sign players in January and has reached an agreement with CAS to reach a verdict by June.

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