Chelsea FC has today received a decision from the FIFA Disciplinary Committee concerning alleged breaches of the FIFA Regulations that relate to the international transfer of players under the age of 18. The decision imposes a transfer ban of two consecutive registration periods and a fine of 600k Swiss francs.
In another development, the FA were also fined £391,459 after they were “found to have breached the rules in connection with minors.”
In a statement released today, the FA said they plan to appeal. The world governing body have been investigating Chelsea for the past three years and a heavy punishment was expected.
If Chelsea’s appeal were upheld, it would delay the transfer window ban for 12 months. It is a tactic that La Liga giants Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid used in recent years when they have been found guilty of the same thing.
But the news will still come as a massive blow to the club who are currently struggling under Maurizio Sarri to qualify for the Champions League for the third time in four seasons.
A Fifa statement said: “Chelsea was found to have breached article 19 of the regulations in the case of 29 minor players and to have committed several other infringements relating to registration requirements for players.
“The club also breached article 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 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 600,000 Swiss francs and given a period of 90 days to regularise the situation of the minor players concerned. The protection of minors is a key element in Fifa’s overall regulatory framework relating to the transfer of players and effective enforcement of these rules is paramount, as also confirmed on various occasions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“The decisions issued by the disciplinary committee were notified today and can be contested before the Fifa Appeal Committee.”
The FA’s official statement:
The FA has cooperated fully with Fifa’s investigations, although we have raised some concerns with Fifa regarding its disciplinary processes.
“The FA intends to appeal the decision. We will, however, continue to work with Fifa and Chelsea in a constructive manner to address the issues which are raised by this case.”
How Will The Ban Affect Chelsea’s Squad?
Christian Pulisic’s summer move is not under threat given that he has already signed a deal with Chelsea, but the ban will almost certainly have a negative impact on the club’s ability to compete with their Premier League rivals.
The ban may be something of a double-edged sword though – both Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi were looking increasingly likely to leave the club at the end of the season, though Chelsea may be forced to keep those forwards and risk losing them for nothing in 2020 if they cannot replace them in the 2019 summer window.
Chelsea FC categorically refutes the findings of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and will, therefore, be appealing the decision.
The club wishes to emphasise that it respects the important work undertaken by FIFA in relation to the protection of minors and has fully cooperated with FIFA throughout its investigation. Initially, Chelsea FC 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 FC acted in accordance with the relevant regulations and will shortly be submitting its appeal to FIFA.