In a week that has seen Maurizio Sarri hanging onto his job at Chelsea by a thread, the bad news just keeps coming for the former Premier League champions.
It has been announced that the Blues have been banned from signing players in the next two transfer windows for breaching rules in relation to youth players.
The West London club were found guilty of 29 incidences of breaching article 19, which relates to the transfer of players aged under 18.
Despite only having the announcement made by FIFA representatives on Friday lunchtime, Chelsea have immediately confirmed that they will be challenging the decision.
.@ChelseaFC have been banned from signing players for two transfer windows after being found guilty by FIFA of breaching rules about signing minors. ✍❌
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 22, 2019
While Chelsea might be rocked by the news that their transfer ban will run until January 2020, they’re not the only party that has come under fire due to FIFA’s findings.
The English Football Association (FA) has also been hit with a £390,000 fine and given six months to improve practices surrounding the acquisition of minors.
Sky Sports are reporting that the extent of Chelsea’s transfer ban is a result of a three-year FIFA investigation related to the signing of more than a dozen players, including the contentious arrival of Bertrand Traore in 2013.
Sadly for the Londoners, this is not the first time that they have been at the heart of a transfer controversy.
Chelsea were given a transfer ban in 2009 after there was a complaint about the youth player Gael Kakuta joining illegally two years earlier.
Handing down their decision on Friday, FIFA released the following statement regarding Chelsea’s latest transfer ban:
“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.
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.”
With FIFA making their announcement on the length of Chelsea’s ban on Friday afternoon, many will rightfully have questions surrounding the likes of Christian Pulisic and Gonzalo Higuain.
While the pressure might really be starting to build at Stamford Bridge, the Blues will take some solace in knowing that their two-window ban will not affect Pulisic’s permanent arrival from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
In the case of Argentina international Higuain, Chelsea will make an appeal to FIFA about the length of their ban and will be hoping that appeal could mean the Blues conduct business this summer if the appeal is not heard before the opening of the window.