After an investigation by FIFA into alleged breaches regarding the transfers of players under the age 18, Chelsea have been sanctioned by a transfer embargo for the next two transfer windows. In addition, Chelsea have been fined £460k and given 90 days to comply.
FIFA also sanctioned the FA with a fine and gave them six months to make sure their regulations comply with FIFA rules. The FA have already confirmed that they intend to appeal.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the English club Chelsea FC and The Football Association for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18. Read more on @FIFAcom ▶️ https://t.co/iTpcozM7Mz— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) February 22, 2019
FIFA’s official statement reads, in part, as follows:
Chelsea was found to have breached art. 19 of the Regulations in the case of twenty-nine (29) minor players and to have committed several other infringements relating to registration requirements for players. The club also breached art. 18bis of the Regulations in connection with two agreements it concluded concerning minors and which allowed it to influence other clubs in transfer-related matters.
The Disciplinary Committee sanctioned Chelsea with a ban on registering new players at both national and international level for the next two (2) complete and consecutive registration periods. This ban applies to the club as a whole - with the exception of the women’s and futsal teams - and does not prevent the release of players.
Additionally, the club was fined CHF 600,000 and given a period of 90 days to regularise the situation of the minor players concerned.
- Source: FIFA
After an initial probe into the Bertrand Traoré situation, FIFA launched their official investigation all the way back in September 2017, but after a year of not hearing much progress, in recent months the narrative has shifted from a possibility to expectation. The case quite possibly centers on Chelsea’s use of trials for players under the age of 16 or 18, but that’s not quite clear at the moment.
Chelsea are hardly the first, and probably not the last club to be hit with similar sanctions, and just like Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, and others, will most certainly file an appeal to either delay or reduce the punishment, or both. The appeals process will likely push the start of any actual sanction to after the upcoming summer transfer window and might even reduce it, like it did in the case of Real Madrid who had the standard two-window ban cut in half.
The ban certainly puts Chelsea’s insistence on completing the Christian Pulisic transfer in January under new light, or the spate of new contracts handed out this year (Kanté, Azpilicueta, Alonso, etc.) while also putting extra emphasis on making sure we keep Eden Hazard and/or Callum Hudson-Odoi beyond this season.
The following few months are going to be even more interesting, as if they weren’t already promising to be.