ZURICH (AP) — FIFA hit French second-tier league leader Nantes with a one-year ban on registering new players Monday for luring forward Ismael Bangoura to break his contract with another club.
FIFA made Nantes and Guinea international Bangoura jointly liable to pay €4.5 million ($6.1 million) compensation to Dubai club Al Nasr over the January 2012 deal.
Nantes said it would challenge the "surprising" ruling.
"The sanction is heavy both financially and sportingly," Nantes said in a statement, pledging to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Nantes aims to win promotion to Ligue 1, but the FIFA sanction bars the club from registering new players in the offseason.
The FIFA sanction also applies to a second transfer window in midseason, through Jan. 31, 2014.
FIFA suspended the 28-year-old Bangoura for four months, though declared he already served three months of the ban.
FIFA's disputes panel judged Friday that Nantes induced Bangoura to break his contract with Al Nasr.
Contesting that judgment, Nantes said it signed Bangoura after the player had problems getting paid in Dubai.
"Not content with not paying him, Al Nasr club had proceeded to deregister him, prohibiting the player to participate in any competitions," Nantes said. "Ismael Bangoura has thus been forced to break his contract."
The French club said Bangoura denied making an agreement to delay payment of his salary.
Bangoura spent just a few months with Nantes before being loaned to Qatari club Umm Salal.