Lee-Seung Woo
Chelsea and Liverpool were interested in Woo.

Barcelona's transfer ban by Fifa is linked to form Liverpool and Chelsea target Lee Seung Woo.

Following Cesc Fabregas' move from Barcelona youth team to Arsenal in 2003, all the Premier League giants have tried to replicate the signing by bringing in the best young talents from the Spanish academy.

As Spanish law states players must be 16 years old before he can sign a professional contract with his club, the English clubs took the opportunity to persuade the kids to left Spain by offering them a lucrative deal with a minor compensation to their clubs.

Indeed, last summer Barcelona lost three of their most promising young talents, when Julio Pleguezuelo, Josimar and Sergi Canos left the Camp Nou for Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool respectively- while in previous years Gerard Pique moved to Manchester United and Hector Bellerin and Jon Toral made the switch to the Emirates Stadium where they are currently playing for the reserves.

And recent reports in Spain claimed that Liverpool and Chelsea were trying to do the same with Lee, who has been earmarked as the new Lionel Messi since his move to Barcelona in 2011.

However, the Korean superkid, who turned 16-years-old last January, decided to snub the Premier League's lucrative bids to commit his future to Barcelona with a new deal instead.

Barcelona were delighted when Lee put pen to paper on a new deal but now the Catalans have suffered a huge set-back, as FIFA has sanctioned them with a 14-month transfer ban – equating to the next two windows - for irregular transfers including Lee and nine other under-18 players.

The affair began at the start of 2013, when Barcelona received a communique from Fifa in which they prohibited the club from fielding Lee as his transfer contravened article 19.

According to the article under-18 players can only move countries if their parents relocate to the vicinity of the buying club for reasons unrelated to football, if the transfer is within the EU and the player is between 16 and 18; and if the player's home is less than 50km from his country's border, and the parent association of the buying club is a similar distance.

FIFA understands that Barcelona has not met these standards in the case of Lee and nine other youth players – with Korean's Paik Seung-Ho and Jang Gyeolhee, French Theo Chendri, Nigerian Bobby Adekanye Sousia and Cameroon Patrice Sousia among them.

Meanwhile, Barcelona club sources told Spanish sports daily AS that they are confident of defeating Fifa in court and avoid the 14-month transfer ban.

"We are calm. We will give explanations to Fifa. It is a normal process in which we have 90 days to claim and explain why we signed those players."