A transfer ban imposed on Atletico Madrid in July 2016 has been upheld by the  Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Spanish side had been banned for two transfer windows for breaching Fifa rules over the signing of minors.

“CAS has dismissed the appeal presented by Atletico de Madrid against the penalty imposed by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee on the case of registering players under age and that was ratified by FIFA’s Appeal Committee, reducing the financial penalty, but maintaining the prohibition of registering licenses in the next transfer market period,” Atletico said in a statement on Thursday.

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“This ruling is unfair and causes an irreparable damage to our club,” added Atletico in the statement.

Atletico had been banned alongside rivals and neighbors Real Madrid, but their appeal was accepted and their sentence halved.

Atletico added that the decision amounts to “comparative disadvantage and discriminatory treatment” of the club, given rivals Real will now be able to sign players in the transfer window that starts on 1 July.

The deal means Atletico would now not be keen to let striker Antoine Griezmann move on a much talked about move to Manchester United, as they will be unable to sign a replacement.