FIFA announced on Friday that Chelsea have been banned from signing players for the next two transfer windows.
The news came in a statement on the organisation's website, in which it's noted the Blues have been punished "for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18."
Dan Roan of BBC Sport shared the news from football's governing body:
Dan Roan @danroan
BREAKING: Chelsea FC hit with transfer ban for next 2 windows by FIFA for breaking rules in the case of 29 players aged under-18. Can sell but not sign anyone. The FA also found to have breached the rules in connection with minors. Been given 6 months to address the situation https://t.co/oSz4jQBB6F
In addition to the ban, FIFA said it has fined Chelsea £460,000 for rule breaches and also hit the Football Association with a £384,000 sanction.
Chelsea released a statement on their own website making clear their intention to appeal against the punishment. A section of it read:
"Initially, Chelsea was charged under Articles 19.1 and 19.3 in relation to 92 players. We welcome the fact that FIFA has accepted that there was no breach in relation to 63 of these players, but the club is extremely disappointed that FIFA has not accepted the club's submissions in relation to the remaining 29 players. Chelsea acted in accordance with the relevant regulations and will shortly be submitting its appeal to FIFA."
The FA confirmed on Twitter it would be appealing the decision:
The statement says the club broke rules regarding the signings of 29 young players.
It was reported by David Hytner of the Guardian last month that the Blues were being investigated regarding the acquisitions of more than 100 players under the age of 18. FIFA's disciplinary committee were said to have taken a "deep dive" into the processes put in place by the club.
Hytner added Chelsea believe they have complied with the proper regulations, the majority of those players were trialists.
Liam Twomey of ESPN FC said appealing the decision would potentially allow them to do some transfer business in the upcoming window:
Chelsea supporters will be hoping that is the case, as the current squad is in need of replenishment in some key areas. They will at least be content with the fact that Christian Pulisic has already agreed to join the club at the end of the campaign.
While the news represents a shock, football writer Michael Cox thinks this type of ruling may have a long-term benefit for the Blues:
Roan highlighted this ban has been handed down in what is becoming a challenging season for the team overall:
The ban does not prevent the club from selling players, and there are concerns regarding the future of a few key Chelsea players.
Star man Eden Hazard continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid and will have just one year remaining on his contract come the end of this campaign. If no extension is agreed by January 2020, he could be able to sign a pre-contract with a club overseas, meaning there would be pressure on the Blues to cash in this summer.
Youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi's deal is also poised to run out in 2020, and he handed in a transfer request in January, with Bayern Munich offering £35 million for his services.