The frenetic last days of European soccer’s midseason player trading market — that whirlwind of spending and sales known as the January transfer window — are always full of drama. Rumors fly. Deals are made. The last hour of the Tuesday night arrived for most clubs and is spent negotiating new player prices.

F.C. F.C. Spanish club trapped in a yearslong financial crisis, the close of this year’s window was even stranger than usual: While most of its rivals scoured the market for players, Barcelona went to court to keep hold of one of its own.

The crisis was of the club’s own making. Barcelona told them that it had spent excessively on its new talent, despite being warned repeatedly about violating league cost control. Spanish The league said it couldn’t register new players until the club could save money or generate new revenue. That did not stop the team from offering a new contract to Gavi, a prodigiously talented teenager who is one of the club’s most valuable assets.

This new contract included a higher salary, and crucially, new registrations with the league. Gavi was not registered by the league because of this. Barcelona decided to appeal to the local court for help, which it received on Tuesday.

The club stated in a statement that it was satisfied with the results. persuaded a local commercial court You will need Spanish League officials have registered Gavi, an 18 year old midfielder, in time for the closing of the trading window at midnight. Gavi was accepted by the court. Barcelona’s argument, the club announced, that the league’s failure to register the player would have caused the club “serious, irreparable damage.”

It Spanish League, also known as La LigaThe company, however, was absent from the hearing. The company said it would examine the ruling to decide next steps. However, the firm indicated that the fight with Barcelona regarding its financial controls is not over.

“If the court tells us to register Gavi, we will,” A league spokesperson said. “And if there are grounds for appeal, then we will appeal it.” The league would remove Gavi from its register if the appeal is successful, according to a spokesperson.

The case of Gavi’s new contract highlights the dire financial straits Barcelona continues to find itself in, even after its president, Joan Laporta, swept back into office in 2021 on a promise to restore the club’s reputation and its finances after a fiscal collapse that had sent F.C. Barcelona is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Laporta raised money fast. Lots of it, in fact, under a program in which Barcelona sold club assets — including years of commercial rights — to outside investors. Instead of using the cash flow to balance out the books, Laporta embarked on an extensive shopping spree and brought in many new players. The acquisitions left the club’s fortunes reliant on sporting success, coupled with the need for even more new revenue sources.

These mixed results are not surprising. Barcelona sits at the summit of Spanish league with half the season remaining, but a humiliating — and financially disastrous — exit from the Champions League in the group stage has raised new doubts about its financial prospects.

La Liga’s president, Javier Tebas, this week offered an explanation for why Barcelona could not register Gavi. In the league’s view, he said, the new deal would put Barcelona in violation of financial limits When it was put into force.

“The issue of not registering Gavi comes as a consequence of the fact that it is a registration that takes effect next season and has no effect in the coming six months,” Tebas claimed in comments that were reported by Spanish News media of the week He stated: Barcelona’s budget deficit next season would be more than 200 million euros — more than $217 million — based on current income projections, “so it does not seem appropriate to accept that registration.”

The Spanish league unequivocal in its refusal to bend regulations to allow Barcelona to register any more players, the club’s board took its plea to the local court.

In its submission, made on Friday, the club said not being able to sign Gavi to his new contract — which he had agreed to in September — by the close of the January window “would imply the player’s free agency and therefore cause serious, irreparable damage to F.C. Barcelona.”

If the ruling is upheld La Liga’s decade-old fiscal regulations, which had been drawn up with the clubs’ input in an effort to reduce volatility, would be rendered unenforceable, with teams able to bypass the regulations by challenging them in civil courts. Barcelona has largely been an outlier in failing to stay within the designated spending cap, which is calculated as a percentage of each team’s earnings from its soccer operations.

The league in recent months has moved to tighten those rules further by limiting the impact of the type of asset sales Barcelona has employed on teams’ salary and player cost caps.