BERN, Switzerland, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The Court of Arbitration for Sport has effectively upheld a one-year transfer ban imposed by FIFA on AS Roma following the Italian club's controversial signing of French defender Philippe Mexes.
CAS ruled, however, that Roma would be free to sign new players after the end of the January transfer window -- noting that the Serie A club had already served five weeks of its suspension during the summer.
Roma were unable to complete any transfers from July 1 until August 8 -- the date when CAS temporarily lifted the ban pending the court's final decision.
French international Mexes joined Roma from AJ Auxerre in September last year, before his contract with the Ligue 1 club expired. Although world soccer's governing body ratified the move, it said the French club were entitled to compensation.
The 23-year-old also had to serve a six-week ban at the start of last season.
CAS has ordered Roma to pay a seven-million-euro ($8.22 million) transfer fee to Auxerre for Mexes -- slightly reducing the eight million euros set by FIFA's appeals commission.
In its written verdict, CAS said Roma had "not only encouraged Mexes to break his contract with Auxerre but actively provoked the break".