Barcelona have been banned from making signings for two consecutive transfer windows after failing to abide by rules governing transfers of players under 18, FIFA announced on Wednesday.

FIFA carried out an investigation last year and found the club as well as the Spanish football federation (RFEF) guilty of several violations in relation to rules governing international transfers and registering foreign players.

The world governing did not explicitly state when the punishment was due to start, but if imposed immediately it would prevent Barca making signings in summer 2014 or winter 2015.

A FIFA statement read: “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol (RFEF) and Spanish club FC Barcelona for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

“The investigations concerned several minor players who were registered and participated in competitions with the club over various periods between 2009 and 2013.”

FIFA only permits international youth transfers when one of the three following situations apply: The player’s parents have moved country for their own non-related reasons; The move takes place within the European Union if a player is aged between 16 and 18; The player’s home is less than 50 kilometres from the national border being crossed.

The FIFA statement added: “FC Barcelona has been found to be in breach of art. 19 of the Regulations in the case of 10 minor players and to have committed several other concurrent infringements in the context of other players, including under Annexe 2 of the Regulations.

“The Disciplinary Committee regarded the infringements as serious and decided to sanction the club with a transfer ban at both national and international level for two complete and consecutive transfer periods, together with a fine of CHF 450,000 [$508,000 or 368,000 euros]. Additionally, the club was granted a period of 90 days in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned.”

In February 2013, FIFA found that Barca had regularly failed to comply with its transfer regulations and extended a ban to cover six players from Barca's Cadete and Juvenil youth teams. This meant that South Koreans Lee Seung-Woo, Jang Gyeolhee and Paik Seung-Ho, French youngster Theo Chendri, Nigerian-Dutch player Bobby Adekanye and Cameroonian Patrice Sousia were training with their teams but unable to play in competitive games.