Chelsea appeals transfer ban imposed by FIFA

5 March 2019

Chelsea UEFA ban appeal
Photo: Getty Images Chelsea have appealed against FIFA's decision to ban them from signing players in the next two transfer windows.

The London club have broken regulations for several signings of foreign under 18-players.

The transfer ban imposed by FIFA will prevent the club from signing players the next two transfer windows. Chelsea might be able to get the ban pushed back.

Peter Høyer

Following FIFA disciplinary committee’s decision to prevent Chelsea from signing players in the next two transfer windows, the London club have appealed the ban, which has been confirmed by FIFA.

FIFA says it found breaches in 29 cases out of 92 investigated, including striker Bertrand Traore, now at Lyon. Though the appeal has been confirmed by FIFA, there is no official date for when it will be heard.

Chelsea have also been fined £460,000, while the Football Association has been fined £390,000. Chelsea said 63 of 92 cases did not amount to breaches and expressed disappointment with the FIFA disciplinary committee's findings.

Suspicions with Traore

In January 2016, it was reported there were suspected irregularities in the recruitment by Chelsea of Bertrand Traore from Burkina Faso.

Traore officially joined Chelsea on January 1, 2014, signing a four-year deal on the first day of the transfer window opening following his 18th birthday, on September 6, 2013.

However, he had appeared as a triallist on the July 2013 pre-season tour and pictures emerged of him playing for Chelsea U18s in October 2011 in an apparent breach of FIFA regulations.

FIFA would not say if Traore was one of the 29 players whose signing resulted in the sanction, but it aroused suspicions, which prompted the investigation.

The rules

FIFA bans the transfer of under-18s from foreign countries unless they meet strict criteria. The rules are made to help protect children from exploitation and trafficking.

Under-18s can only be transferred abroad if one of three rules are followed:

a)       The player’s parents move to the country in which the new club is located for reasons not linked to football.

b)      The transfer takes place within the territory of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) and the player is aged between 16 and 18. In this case, the new club must fulfil obligations as football education, education besides football, living standards, and proof of complying with obligations.

c)       The maximum distance between the player’s domicile and the club’s headquarters shall be 100km. In such cases, the player must continue to live at home and the two associations concerned must give their explicit consent.

Chelsea may get ban pushed back

There should be a chance for Chelsea to get the imposed ban pushed back, as other clubs with similar bans have done so.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid both received bans for breaching rules over the signing of minors in early 2016, while fellow Spanish club Barcelona were given a 14-month ban after breaking rules for signing international under-18s in 2014.

However, a Barcelona appeal saw their punishment pushed back a year, allowing the club to sign Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Jeremy Mathieu, Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Real had their ban reduced to one winter window, so it had limited impact. Atletico served a two-window suspension.