Unsurprisingly, Chelsea have made an official appeal against the decision made by FIFA for the next two transfer windows. The ruling means that the team are not able to sign any players during this period. FreeTips.com looks at the story behind the ban to see what has gone wrong for the team.
Currently, there is an investigation in place by the football world governing body because of allegations that Chelsea has been signing players from abroad who are under the age of 18. The appeal has now been confirmed by FIFA, but at this stage, they have not said at what point this will be heard. After investigating 92 cases, the governing body says that there are 29 cases which have clear breaches of the rule and this does include Bertrand Traore who is a striker that has since moved on to Lyon.
After the investigations, the team were fined £460,000, and the FA was also stung to the tune of £390,000. As well as the fine the ban stands which is valid until 1 Feb 2020, the team may release players but cannot sign any. The ban does not affect their women’s team or the futsal teams. This has been a three-year investigation, and the first reports of the situation came to light in September 2017. The rules state that players under the age of 18 cannot be transferred out of country with only three exceptions. These rules exist to ensure that children are protected from human trafficking and exploitation. The three ‘get out’ clauses that must apply to under 18’s are:
- Living within 100km of the club.
- The parents of the player are moving to the country where the interested club is, and the move is for reasons not related to football.
- Both of the clubs involved are in the EU or EEA when the player is between the ages of 16-18. But the club must further evidence meeting criteria about living conditions, education, training and other support.
The investigation found obvious problems with the transfer of Traore, who comes from Burkina Faso, making discoveries that he played more than 25 games with various teams, but was not actually registered with the FA having been signed in 2013 when he was 18 but not registered until 2014. There were discrepancies over the payments made to his parents and the length of the contract offered which was set at four and half years, despite the legal contract length for signing and under 18 being just three years.
They are not the first club to go against the regulations, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid were also give bans for signing underage players in 2016 and Barcelona had a 14-month ban when they did the same in 2014. They too appeared their punishment and received a one-year pushback which meant they were able to sign some key players before they were locked out of the transfer windows. With so many breaches claimed for Chelsea it will be interesting to see if they get anywhere with an appeal.