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Football news - Chelsea handed transfer ban – what happens next?

Chelsea handed transfer ban – what happens next?

22/02/2019 at 19:16Updated 22/02/2019 at 19:34

Chelsea have been banned from registering new players at both the national and international level for the next two transfer windows by FIFA but what are the club’s options from here?


Chelsea were 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, FIFA said.

The world governing body therefore imposed a transfer ban for the next two windows, meaning the club will be unable to sign players until the summer of 2020.

However, Chelsea announced later on Friday their intention to appeal the decision.



It is unlikely that there are grounds to get the sanction overturned but there is precedent – more on that later - that the club might be able to get the sanction reduced, or even delayed.

The FA were also found to be in breach of FIFA regulations in connection to the registration of minors, which, according to reports, could give the club’s appeal weight. Furthermore, Chelsea could appeal the severity of the sanction, given the fact that over 100 transfers were investigated, with 'just' 29 found to be in breach, adds The Telegraph’s Matt Law.

Should the FIFA Appeal Committee throw out the appeal, the club could escalate their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


Chelsea have transfer-ban previous. Back in 2009 they were banned for two windows after FIFA's dispute resolution chamber (DRC) found that Gael Kakuta was in breach of contract when he moved from Lens to Stamford Bridge in 2007. However, the ban was thrown out by CAS when Chelsea agreed to pay training costs and £800,000 in compensation to the French club.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have all been sanctioned for similar offences.

Barca were given a ban of two windows in 2014 for breaches regarding the transfers of players under the age of 18. However, Barcelona were given a six-month reprieve after the club lodged an appeal which allowed them to sign Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Jeremy Mathieu, Thomas Vermaelen, Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. The appeal was eventually thrown out, with Barcelona serving the ban in 2015.

Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic (Tottenham Hotspur vs. FC Barcelona)

Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic (Tottenham Hotspur vs. FC Barcelona)Getty Images

Real Madrid were give a year-long ban in January 2016, which was, on appeal, reduced to just the January 2017 window by CAS but city rivals Atleti were unable to argue their ban down in similar circumstances and they were unable to register players during the winter and summer windows of 2017. The Madrid side did see their £719,000 fine reduced to £440,000.


Chelsea will have been aware of the chances of this ban. And they appear to have reacted accordingly, signing Christian Pulisic and Gonzalo Higuain in January with perhaps a view to preparing for next season as much as this. However, despite Chelsea holding Higuain's registration and an option to extend his stay at the club, it is unclear whether the Argentine will be able to stay beyond the summer, when his initial loan deal expires, should the ban be upheld. FIFA declined to comment when contacted by PA Sport.

Another option open to the club would be to blood some of their young talent. The Blues have one of the best academies in Europe but pathways to the first team have been extremely limited, as Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have found to their detriment. The club currently have 41 players out on loan, though, and, should the ban not be lifted, the Blues might be forced to give that undoubted pool of talent extended playing time.

For example, should, as is increasingly looking the case, Eden Hazard leave the club come the summer, then it should surely open up a pathway for the talented, sought-after and wantaway Hudson-Odoi. The ban, while an inconvenience, could provide - or perhaps force upon - Chelsea the opportunity to trust their academy graduates.

With additional reporting from agencies