Blog#34 – Chelsea hit with the almighty Banhammer

What have Chelsea done now? Well, where do we begin… The FIFA disciplinary committee handed down a players transfer ban preventing Chelsea FC from registering any new players over the next two transfer windows. How did this happen? Chelsea FC breached certain FIFA transfer regulations, in particular Article 19 and article 18bis.

The multiple breaches which Chelsea have committed relate to Article 19 in ‘FIFAs regulations on the status and transfer of players’ which specifically refers to the protection of minors from international transfer agreements. While Article 18bis refers to third party influences on clubs to assist in player transfer related matters.

Chelsea FC were found to have multiple infringements in relation to 29 of their minor players, (players under the age of 18), including several other issues regarding the registration requirements for players. The club were also found to have entered into two agreements concerning players under the age of 18 where Chelsea had used third party influences to assist in completing player transfers.

The investigation first came to fruition when there were supposed irregularities in the recruitment of one particular player, Bertrand Traore.

Traore signed for Chelsea on January 1st 2014 just after his 18th birthday in September of 2013. But Traore had already made a trial appearance for the club in a pre-season tour in July 2013, with further evidence showing that Traore also played for Chelsea’s Under 18’s squad in October 2011.

In addition to the double transfer window ban, Chelsea have been fined over £460,000 and granted a 90 day period to resolve the situations with the 29 minor players. The Football Association were also fined over £390,000 and given a six month period to address the situation concerning the international transfer and first registration of minors in football. 

Chelsea have stated that they “categorically refute” the decision from the disciplinary committee and will be appealing the decision. The FA has also stated that they will appeal the decision from FIFA, but will “work with FIFA and Chelsea to address the issues which are raised by this case.”

This unfortunately is nothing new. Other high profile clubs such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and  Athletico Madrid have been handed transfer bans in the past for similar breaches with the latter being investigated on 221 individual cases against minors…

So let’s just say that FIFA’s decision is upheld. Chelsea will not be able to sign any players until the English summer of 2020 and pay a small fine. Is it really that much of a problem for the London based club?

Chelsea currently have 41 players out on loan. 41 players. 41… The ban does not stop the club from recalling players who are on loan to other clubs nor does it stop the club from selling players to other clubs. This would mean that players such as Christian Pulisic who was signed in the previous transfer window and loaned back to Borussia Dortmund, can still return to Chelsea FC at the end of his loan deal or if recalled prior.

Obviously this is not an ideal situation for Chelsea. If a high profile players such as Eden Hazard were to leave for another club, Chelsea would only be able to replace him with one of their current players or someone who is on loan with another club. So while not ideal, is it really that bad?

The 41 players that Chelsea have out on loan, (I still cannot believe it’s 41), might get a chance to play for the club they signed for. For instance, Lucas Piazon. The Brazilian winger signed his first senior contract for Chelsea in 2012, made one Premier League appearance for the club, and has been on loan ever since. For 6 years.

I am not suggesting that Lucas will come back to Chelsea after spending 6 years in the footballing nether and become Chelsea’s star player. But the opportunity is now there for these up and coming youngsters to stand up and make their claim.

Given all the information that we have about this case, and the previous cases with other football clubs, do you think FIFA are being too strict? Or should minors be protected from the transfer politics that are involved in the world game?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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