Chelsea hit with two window transfer ban

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CHELSEA HIT WITH BAN

Chelsea have been banned from signing players in the next two transfer windows following a FIFA investigation.

It found them guilty of breaching the rules regarding their transfer dealings involving foreign players under the age of 18, with it coming at the end of a lengthy investigation into how they have registered players over the last few years into their academy.

It is a huge blow ahead of next season, with Chelsea currently locked in a battle to get back into the Champions League with Manchester United and Arsenal.

An official FIFA statement read: “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the English club Chelsea FC and The Football Association for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

“Chelsea was found to have breached art. 19 of the Regulations in the case of twenty-nine (29) minor players and to have committed several other infringements relating to registration requirements for players. The club also breached art. 18bis of the Regulations in connection with two agreements it concluded concerning minors and which allowed it to influence other clubs in transfer-related matters.

“The Disciplinary Committee sanctioned Chelsea with a ban on registering new players at both national and international level for the next two (2) complete and consecutive registration periods. This ban applies to the club as a whole - with the exception of the women’s and futsal teams - and does not prevent the release of players.

“Additionally, the club was fined CHF 600,000 and given a period of 90 days to regularise the situation of the minor players concerned.

“The Football Association was also found to have breached the rules in connection with minors. It was fined CHF 510,000 and given a period of six months to address the situation concerning the international transfer and first registration of minors in football.”

Hazard - Chelsea

IMPLICATIONS

With current uncertainty surrounding both Maurizio Sarri and Roman Abramovich’s respective futures at the club, this news could hardly have come at a worse time for Chelsea, who are also preparing for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.

Judging by recent performances, this Chelsea squad look to be a long way off competing for the Premier League title any time soon and that will be extended by a further season now that they will be stuck with the same squad.

It will also see Mateo Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain taken away from the squad, with both players currently on loan from Real Madrid and Juventus respectively. Yet that isn’t even close to the worst of it.

Eden Hazard is believed to be pushing for a move to the Bernabeu in the summer, but this transfer ban will deny Chelsea from being able to bring in a ready-made replacement right away. Hazard says he already knows what he is going to do at the end of the season and with his contract expiring in the summer of 2020 would also be able to leave on a free transfer if Chelsea dig their heels in and keep hold of him for one final campaign.

Given the way Hazard has performed in the past when unhappy - once going a calendar year without a Premier League goal - that may not be the wisest decision to make. Selling him may also not be an option, with it then putting huge pressure on 20-year-old Christian Pulisic, who is set to arrive from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

If Chelsea miss out on Champions League once again this season it would then appear extremely likely that they would do so once more the following year with the same core of players, which would leave the club without three years of Champions League revenue and in the Europa League.

It ultimately makes Chelsea an unattractive proposition both on the pitch and off it should the worst scenario play out.

Gonzalo Higuain Chelsea

ANY SILVER LININGS?

The one potential positive of this scenario is it could force Chelsea to finally give players from their academy an opportunity to play regularly in the first team.

Those who do leave the club will have to be replaced by one of the 29 players currently out on loan, many of whom most likely would not have been considered for a place in the first team next season.

If Higuain’s deal can not be made permanent under the new FIFA regulations, Chelsea would be stuck with only Olivier Giroud as a senior option at centre-forward. That could see Tammy Abraham offered the chance to prove himself in the first team, having scored 20 goals in 27 appearances for Aston Villa so far this term.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

It could also be a blessing for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has been on the periphery of the Chelsea team for much of the season so far and may well get more minutes if Kovacic is forced to move elsewhere. Callum Hudson-Odoi may or may not benefit from the news, with it now more likely that Chelsea will keep hold of at least two of Hazard, Pedro and Willian this summer.

Others such as Ola Aina, Reece James, Mason Mount, Kasey Palmer, Charly Musonda and Izzy Brown could also be given an opportunity in the first team squad by whoever the manager is come next summer.

It's pretty difficult to find positives in this current scenario, but making use of the club’s recently famed and successful academy is certainly one thing they have an opportunity for.

This summer may well also be the perfect opportunity for them to bring in a new manager such as Frank Lampard, with expectations set to be extremely low at the club next season due to the lack of new players coming through the door, while their rivals will invariably spend to improve.

Chelsea have been dealt with a tough hand and it will be interesting to see how the next year or so plays out at Stamford Bridge.

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