Chelsea has reportedly been dealt another blow by FIFA.
According to the Guardian’s David Hytner, Chelsea is accused of breaking the rules on the signings of 25 minors after an investigation by FIFA. The initial investigation apparently related to the signing of foreign footballers aged under 18, but the Blues, who face a possible transfer ban from FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee, say they complied with the regulations of football’s governing body when recruiting players.
The matter is reportedly in the hands of FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee and the number of cases could rise.
In September, in an emailed response to questions about media reports regarding Chelsea signing foreign players under the age of 18, FIFA confirmed an investigation was ongoing. “We cannot provide any details concerning the matters under investigation,” football’s governing body said.
The initial investigation was reportedly carried out by the compliance unit of the FIFA Transfer Matching System, and it’s believed it was first alerted by the case of Bertrand Traore, who signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with Chelsea in October 2013 and completed the move in December 2013, when the Burkinabe attacker was 18 years old. Pictures apparently emerged of him playing for the Blues in a non-competitive game in October 2011, when he was just 16 years old, and the images were brought to FIFA’s attention in January 2016.
The Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players dictate that international transfers are only permitted if the player is over the age of 18. There are three exceptions, but FIFA was allegedly concerned that Traore, who joined OIympique Lyonnais for €10 million in June, didn’t appear to fulfil any of them.
The FIFA Transfer Matching System reportedly flagged 25 cases in which it’s thought that Chelsea may have transgressed, and the findings were passed to FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee, which requested information from Chelsea and is in contact with the Football Association.
In January 2014, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid were sanctioned for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18. Both clubs served a transfer ban, although Los Blancos had their ban reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Barcelona was sanctioned for the same thing in April 2014.