Why are Chelsea under a transfer ban, how long will it last and are they appealing?

Maurizio Sarri has a testing time ahead of him (Picture: Getty Images)

Chelsea are currently set to be unable to buy players for the next two transfer windows after being slapped with a transfer ban by FIFA.

The sanctions will prevent the club from buying players this summer and in the January of 2020, although this no longer includes under-16 players.

The ban came about after the Blues were found guilty of breaching rules relating to the transfers of foreign minors, although it was never specified which transfers were concernd

Given that Article 19 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players was breached over 29 minors, and article 18bis (regarding third-party ownership) twice more, FIFA felt the significant punishment was necessary.

Roman Abramovich is still hoping to overturn the ban (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

It is not exactly clear what part of Article 19 Chelsea broke in the various cases, but the regulations are set out below and are related to buying under-18 players from abroad.

The FIFA regulations Chelsea have broken

18bis Third-party influence on clubs

  1. No club shall enter into a contract which enables the counter club/counter
    clubs, and vice versa, or any third party to acquire the ability to influence in
    employment and transfer-related matters its independence, its policies or the
    performance of its teams.
  2. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee may impose disciplinary measures on clubs
    that do not observe the obligations set out in this article.

19 Protection of minors

  1. International transfers of players are only permitted if the player is over the
    age of 18.
  2. The following three exceptions to this rule apply:
    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 the following minimum obligations:
    i. It shall provide the player with an adequate football education and/or
    training in line with the highest national standards.
    ii. It shall guarantee the player an academic and/or school and/or
    vocational education and/or training, in addition to his football
    education and/or training, which will allow the player to pursue a career
    other than football should he cease playing professional football.
    iii. It shall make all necessary arrangements to ensure that the player is
    looked after in the best possible way (optimum living standards with a
    host family or in club accommodation, appointment of a mentor at the
    club, etc.).
    iv. It shall, on registration of such a player, provide the relevant association
    with proof that it is complying with the aforementioned obligations.
    VI. International transfers involving minors 23
    c) The player lives no further than 50km from a national border and the
    club with which the player wishes to be registered in the neighbouring
    association is also within 50km of that border. 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.
  3. The conditions of this article shall also apply to any player who has never
    previously been registered with a club, is not a national of the country in
    which he wishes to be registered for the first time and has not lived
    continuously for at least the last five years in said country.
  4. Every international transfer according to paragraph 2 and every first
    registration according to paragraph 3, as well as every first registration of a
    foreign minor player who has lived continuously for at least the last five years
    in the country in which he wishes to be registered, is subject to the approval
    of the subcommittee appointed by the Players’ Status Committee for that
    purpose. The application for approval shall be submitted by the association
    that wishes to register the player. The former association shall be given the
    opportunity to submit its position. The sub-committee’s approval shall be
    obtained prior to any request from an association for an International Transfer
    Certificate and/ or a first registration. Any violations of this provision will
    be sanctioned by the Disciplinary Committee in accordance with the FIFA
    Disciplinary Code. In addition to the association that failed to apply to the
    sub-committee, sanctions may also be imposed on the former association for
    issuing an International Transfer Certificate without the approval of the subcommittee,
    as well as on the clubs that reached an agreement for the transfer
    of a minor.
  5. The procedures for applying to the sub-committee for a first registration
    and an international transfer of a minor are contained in Annexe 2 of these

Have Chelsea appealed the transfer ban?

Yes, and it was rejected by FIFA earlier in May.

The only concession that FIFA made was that the transfer ban now does not apply to under-16s, which they set out in the following statement.

‘The FIFA Appeal Committee has decided to partially uphold the appeal lodged by Chelsea FC against the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to sanction the club with a ban on registering new players at both national and international level for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods. This ban applied to the club as a whole – with the exception of the women’s and futsal teams – and did not prevent the release of players.

‘With respect to all men’s teams, the ban on registering new players, both nationally and internationally for two registration periods, has been confirmed by the FIFA Appeal Committee, with the following exception:

‘The FIFA Appeal Committee believes that Chelsea’s wrongdoing consisted in not respecting the prohibition from internationally transferring or registering for the first time foreign minor players. In the committee´s opinion, imposing a ban on registering each and every minor would not be proportionate to the offence committed.

‘Consequently, the FIFA Appeal Committee decided that, as far as youth categories are concerned, the ban shall not cover the registration of minor players under the age of 16 who do not fall under the scope of art. 19 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, which refers to international transfers and first registrations of foreign minor players.

‘Additionally, the FIFA Appeal Committee confirmed the fine of CHF 600,000. The decision issued by the FIFA Appeal Committee was notified today.’

Can Chelsea appeal again?

Yes, the appeal process within FIFA has come to an end, but they can take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

It has not been confirmed that this is taking place yet, but it almost certainly will as the club look to avoid the punishment, or at least delay it.

There is the potential for any transfer ban to be suspended until an appeal process is entirely concluded, so Chelsea could buy themselves some time by continuing to appeal, and potentially still buy players during the summer transfer window.

What is the situation with Gonzalo Higuain and Mateo Kovacic?

Both Higuain and Kovacic have been on loan at Chelsea this season and they can have their deals extended without breaching the transfer ban.

Higuain’s deal can be made permanent for £31.6m or he can stay for another year on loan from Juventus for £15.6m.

Kovacic has no set fee agreed between Chelsea and Real Madrid, so negotiations will begin, with the Spanish side thought to want around £40m for the midfielder.

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