FIFA Bans Chelsea from Signing Players for the Next 2 Transfer Windows

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: A general view outside Stamford Bridge prior the UEFA Europa League Group L match between Chelsea and Vidi FC at Stamford Bridge on October 4, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

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:

FA Spokesperson @FAspokesperson

[3/3] As this is an ongoing legal process it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.

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:

Liam Twomey @liam_twomey

Chelsea have been braced for this. They can appeal to FIFA & to CAS if necessary & even if they fail to get the punishment reduced/overturned, the timeframe of the process should grant them this summer to do any essential business #cfc

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:

Michael Cox @Zonal_Marking

One of the best punishments you can get. Means you can focus on developing talent and develop cohesion. The other great punishment is a touchline ban for your manager. Means he can sit upstairs and actually see what's happening https://t.co/njsZCeUEUX

Roan highlighted this ban has been handed down in what is becoming a challenging season for the team overall:

Dan Roan @danroan

Fair to say Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has had better winters; sparks national outcry over Scudamore’s £5million exit bonus, turned down (not once but twice) over search for new PL ch exec, manager Sarri under pressure, now CFC handed transfer ban. https://t.co/njxM5rWEPa

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.