Chelsea are facing a potential transfer ban after they have been accused of breaking the rules on the signing of young foreign players.
An investigation by world governing body FIFA, has seen the Blues accused of breaking the rules by signing 25 foreign players under the age of 18, a number which could rise as the case is investigated further by the disciplinary committee.
La Liga big guns Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have all fallen foul of the rules in the past, with all three being handed transfer bans, preventing them from signing players for two consecutive transfer windows, although Real Madrid saw their ban reduced to one window after a successful appeal.
It is claimed that the initial investigation into Chelsea came after the club signed Bertrand Traore on 1st January 2014, the first day of the transfer window after his 18th birthday. However, photo’s emerged online of the striker actually playing for the club in a non competitive match in 2011 when he was just 16.
Clubs are not permitted to sign players from other countries who are under the age of 18 unless the players parents have emigrated for reasons not connected to football. Players between the age of 16 and 18 are permitted to move within the European Union and European Economic Area, but with Traore being a Burkina Faso, he did not meet any of the criteria, meaning Chelsea were in breach of the FIFA rulings.
Chelsea have argued that they had an agreement, registered with and approved by the FA and the Premier League, to secure Traore’s signature when he turned 18, an agreement that would allow him to play in games officially on a trial basis.
A Chelsea spokesman said:
“Chelsea FC complies with all FIFA statutes and regulations when recruiting players.”
Whether Chelsea will ultimately face a transfer ban is yet to be seen, but FIFA have refused to comment regarding any ongoing investigations.
Any potential ban will come as a blow to Antonio Conte, who is already unhappy at a lack of transfer activity from the reigning Premier League champions, after they missed out on a number of transfer targets last summer.