By Jonathan Copping, Lawyer, Stone King, London, UK
The FIFA Appeal Committee has rejected Chelsea’s appeal against the transfer ban imposed by FIFA, which, means that the Chelsea will now take its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
In accordance with the ban, Chelsea cannot sign any new players until 2020; however, the appeal committee has partially upheld the appeal and Chelsea will now be permitted to register players under the age of 16.
In February of this year, following an investigation and subsequent disciplinary hearing, Chelsea were handed a two-window transfer ban.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee found that Chelsea had broken a number of FIFA rules in relation to its dealings with under-18 players from foreign countries. Chelsea was charged with 92 breaches of article 19 of the FIFA Transfer Regulations and found guilty in relation to 29 of these charges.
Chelsea was also found to have breached article 19 in relation to two agreements that it concluded concerning minors and which allowed it to influence other clubs in transfer-related matters.
In addition to the two-window transfer ban, Chelsea was also given a fine of £460,000.
Additionally, FIFA found that The English Football Association was in breach of the Regulations and received a fine of £390,000.
In a statement in response to the FIFA Appeal Committee ruling, Chelsea said:
“Chelsea FC has today received the decision of the FIFA Appeal Committee.
The Club notes that the FIFA Appeal Committee has decided to partially uphold the appeal lodged by Chelsea FC against the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee. However, the Club is very disappointed that the transfer ban of two consecutive registration periods was not overturned.
Chelsea FC categorically refutes the findings of the FIFA Appeal Committee. It acted in accordance with the relevant regulations and will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)”.
Notwithstanding the transfer ban, Chelsea appears to be in a healthy position in terms of player numbers. In addition to the current first team squad, Chelsea has a further 45 players out on loan this season.
One issue that is likely to arise out of the current transfer ban is the future of Chelsea star player, Eden Hazard, who has one year left on his contract and has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid.
Chelsea is unlikely to want to allow Hazard to leave on a free transfer; however, if a new contract is not signed, Chelsea might be forced to sell him this summer but not be in a position to replace him.
We shall await the Court of Arbitration ruling on the Chelsea Appeal with great anticipation!
Jonathan Copping may be contacted by e-mail at ‘JonathanCopping@stoneking.co.uk’