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FIFA re-confirm ‘massive’ investigation of Chelsea, other big clubs regarding youth transfers

FIFA’s investigation, recently brought back into the news by Football Leaks, has been ongoing since September 2017

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Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Following a well-publicized data breach at FIFA, Football Leaks have been at it again, releasing various bits of information that were never meant to see the light of day. Alas, most of it is not all that exciting or even interesting.

For example, we learned that Manchester City have been cooking their FFP books, which is upsetting the other elite clubs in Europe (never mind that Financial Fair Play is inherently unfair to all but the elite clubs already). Yes, City and PSG are getting more money from their owners/sponsors than they should. We’ve all known this, and UEFA still won’t do anything about it. (Their money comes from the same, or similar sources, too!)

Or, we learned that Kylian Mbappé wanted access to a private jet as per his contract, or that Neymar gets a bonus for not being a dick to fans. Shocking, I know. We also learned the N’Golo Kanté doesn’t use an offshore tax shelter to save himself about £1m in taxes. Olivier Giroud does that, too, mind you, and they’re probably not alone even if such tax schemes are the norm across most big leagues.

Another revelation that’s meant to be shocking is that Chelsea are under investigation for transfers of players under the age of 18, with everybody throwing in the obligatory Bertrand Traoré mention — for which, incidentally, Chelsea were already being ... uhm, probed ... back in January 2016. Three years is a long time to remember things, especially on the Internet, I realize this.

But if you’ve been paying attention, or if you read Matt Law’s latest in the Telegraph, you’ll know that FIFA actually announced that investigation back when it started — here’s our report from September 2017 — while at the start of this calendar year, the Guardian reported that Chelsea were asked to provide further information on the signing of 25 foreign players under the age of 18. No names were provided though FIFA’s own rules allow them to look at transfers stretching back 10 years, with the likely punishment being a transfer embargo for a window or two, like in the cases of Real Madrid (appealed and halved), Atlético Madrid (appealed and upheld), Barcelona (appealed and banned and fined), and Chelsea themselves back in the Kakuta days (appealed and acquitted).

The Telegraph got a “source close to the investigation” to confirm that all of that is indeed still ongoing, with at least “four other Premier League clubs” and “some of the biggest clubs in Europe” also a part of it.

“This a massive investigation that will implicate a number of clubs. It will touch most of the big clubs around Europe and in the Premier League.”

A FIFA spokesman (presumably different than the aforementioned source) has also confirmed that the investigation is far from over.

“As communicated in September 2017, investigations were opened concerning the club Chelsea FC as well as other English clubs in relation to potential breaches of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. The proceedings are ongoing and, to date, no decision has been passed by the Fifa judicial bodies. Thus, the clubs are to be presumed innocent unless decided otherwise. No further information can be provided as the cases are ongoing. Any update will be communicated in due course.”

-FIFA spokesman; source: Telegraph

Chelsea of course maintain that we’ve complied with all regulations, and the club have cooperated with the investigation every step of the way it would appear.

And so we wait. And then appeal.

But as far as the Football Leaks shenanigans go, this is hardly new information.

Carry on.

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