Chelsea have been banned from signing new players for the next two transfer windows, until July 2020, after being found guilty by FIFA of breaching regulations relating to the recruitment of minors.

Chelsea have been banned from the transfer market for two windows after Fifa found them guilty of a serious and systemic breach of the rules regarding their dealings with overseas players under the age of 18.

The Fifa statement says Chelsea have breached Article 19 on 29 separate occasions.
Players under the age of 18 cannot sign for clubs in foreign countries unless their parents have emigrated for non-footballing reasons. Article 19 states that players between 16 and 18 from within the European Union are exempt from this rule.

Chelsea will now not be allowed to register players in the upcoming summer or next January (2020) and have also been fined £460,000 (€528,600).

It was revealed last month that Fifa had looked into more than 100 player cases at Chelsea and it emerged on Friday they had charged them with 92 breaches of article 19 alone – the most serious infringement relating to the registration of minors. Chelsea were found guilty in 29 of those cases.

“Chelsea FC categorically refutes [sic] the findings of the Fifa disciplinary committee and will therefore be appealing the decision,” the club said. “Initially, Chelsea FC was charged under Articles 19.1 and 19.3 in relation to 92 players. We welcome the fact that Fifa has accepted that there was no breach in relation to 63 of these players, but the club is extremely disappointed that Fifa has not accepted the club’s submissions in relation to the remaining 29 players. Chelsea FC acted in accordance with the relevant regulations.”

Chelsea completed the £58m signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund last month – he will join in the summer – and they took Gonzalo Higuaín on loan from Juventus until the end of the season, with options to extend the loan or sign him permanently this summer. The club have denied that the moves were in reaction to the threat of a transfer ban.

How will the transfer ban affect the players?

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid are some of the third parties that could see their own plans disrupted if the ban does stand, while there are other clubs in a similar situation. Here, we take a look at the specific situations of several of the club’s key players.

Eden Hazard
The Belgian captain announced recently that he had made a decision on his future, after being long linked with a transfer to Real Madrid. But his situation may now change. With Hazard heading towards the last year of his Chelsea contract, Maurizio Sarri has indicated the issue needs to be resolved sooner rather than later, but the transfer ban will complicate matters.
Hazard’s contract runs to 2020 and there was a chance he could be sold this summer, but Chelsea may now shut the exit door since they wouldn’t be able to replace him. This, though, could see him depart as a free agent in the summer of 2020.

Alvaro Morata
The Spanish is striker is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid but his rights still belong to Chelsea. If Chelsea cannot sign a striker until the end of the 2019-20 season, Morata may once more become an option for the Blues. There is a clause in his contract that would allow the Blues to recall him this June.

Gonzalo Higuain
The Argentina striker is seemingly not required in Turin after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus will want to cash in on the 31-year-old while they can.
If Chelsea activate the purchase option, this would be viewed by FIFA as a new transfer. If the transfer ban is applied before the Blues can extend the striker’s contract then he would have to return to Juventus, so Chelsea are expected to ask for a provisional suspension of the sanction.
And if Chelsea cannot buy the striker, someone else surely will be tempted by his prolific record.

Mateo Kovacic
Kovacic’s rights belong to Real Madrid, but he is currently on loan at Stamford Bridge. Kovacic has spoken warmly of a possible permanent move to Chelsea and a transfer for the Croatia international seemed likely, but that now seems impossible given their transfer ban.

Christian Pulisic
The American international will be able to join Chelsea despite this transfer ban. He signed with Chelsea in January. He is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund. And when that loan finishes at the end of this season, he can move to Stamford Bridge without any issues.

Callum Hudson-Odoi
Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich – who need long-term replacements for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery – will likely return with bids for Hudson-Odoi when the transfer window reopens, but regardless of how large the fee on offer gets, Chelsea may prefer to keep Hudson-Odoi and risk losing him for nothing in 2020.

David Luiz, Olivier Giroud, Gary Cahill and Willy Caballero‘s contracts expire in the summer, but the contracts can be renewed if the club desires.

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