FIFA have refused Chelsea’s request to have their transfer ban frozen.
Football’s world governing body say their appeals committee has rejected the request – and the club could now ask the Court of Arbitration for an interim ruling, which would allowed them to sign players this summer.
The Blues have been banned from signing players in the next two transfer windows, and were also fined £455,000, after being found guilty of breaching rules on overseas players under the age of 18.
The Premier League side confirmed last month that they would appeal against the decision taken by FIFA’s disciplinary committee.
The catalyst for the transfer ban, as previously reported by Mirror Sport, was Chelsea’s signing of Bertrand Traore, now at Lyon.
FIFA’s rules state a non-EU player cannot move until they are 18 and cannot transport players across borders.
Exceptions within the European Union and European Economic Community allows the transfer of 16- to 18-year-old players if standards on education and living conditions are met.
Traore spent two years in Wimbledon living with his mother and brother while attending the £20,000-a-year Whitgift private school, while Jose Mourinho even took Traore on pre-season tour to the Far East in 2014.
During that trip club officials asked the visiting media not to report on him.
Chelsea have consistently denied any wrongdoing.
In similar cases, FIFA has agreed not to enforce the ban during a club’s appeal process, a policy which has previously allowed both Barcelona and Real Madrid to sign players ahead of their bans taking effect.
However, FIFA have cautioned Chelsea against expecting similar treatment, stating “as a general rule we do not make comparisons with previous cases.”