It will come as no surprise that Chelsea has submitted their official appeal in response to the FIF ruling that they are banned from the next two transfer windows. The decision puts pay to any new signings for the duration.
The story first hit the news in September 2018 when it was alleged that the club was making signings from abroad that did not comply with the rulings surrounding players under 18. This has triggered a football world governing body investigation into the allegations. FIFA has acknowledged the appeal lodged by Chelsea but has given no details of when the hearing will take place.
They have confirmed that there are 29 clear breaching which were discovered after 92 causes where investigated. Bertrand Traore was one of those players thought to be involved, and this appears to have been confirmed although the striker no longer plays for the club having moved to Lyon.
The fines have already been issued with both the club and the FA suffering. Chelsea to the tune of £460,000 and the FA receiving a large £390,00 fine. The terms of the ban which stays in place until the end of January 2020 means that new players cannot be signed to the team, but they can choose to release players to other clubs. This is a specific team ban not involving the futsal or women’s teams.
Rules surrounding under 18 players are very clear and were set up to protect children from exploration and human trafficking and prevent moves when it comes to being transferred out of the country. There are only three criteria that enable under 18 players to move.
If the parents of the player relocate for non-football reasons to a new county, a club there may transfer the player.
The player lives within 100km of the club.
If both clubs are EU or EEA countries and can provide satisfactory evidence that the needs of living conditions, training, education and support can be met, and the player is aged 16-18.
There were suspicions over Burkina Faso national Traore, and these were upheld when the investigation found that he had played in over 25 games while not being registered with the FA. He was signed in 2013 but not registered until he was 18 in 2014. It was also revealed that some questionable payments had been made to his mother and that he had been offered a contract of 4.5 years despite the fact it should have only been three years due to his age.
This is not the first time that clubs have got into trouble for breaking this rule, Barcelona received a 14 month ban in 2014, but they did appeal and were successful giving them a one year push-back on the penalties which in effect meant they could stock their team before the transfer ban took place. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid also served transfer bans without successful appeals.