Chelsea transfer ban: What does the two-window punishment mean for Eden Hazard, Christian Pulisic and more
The Blues won't be able to make any signings until the summer of 2020
FIFA has handed Chelsea a two-window transfer ban over their international transfers of youth players, the federation announced on Friday. Here's what to know, what it means for the club and what it means for the likes of Christian Pulisic and Eden Hazard:
What did FIFA say Chelsea did wrong?
FIFA's Disciplinary Committee sanctioned the club and the English FA for "breaches relating" to the transfer of international players and registration of players under the age of 18. FIFA says there are 29 minor players in which the club failed to meet regulations for acquiring and registering them. Here's FIFA's official statement:
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.
What does it mean for Christian Pulisic?
Simply that his new club will have to wait to acquire more players around him, but it won't impact him being at the club at all. When Chelsea announced the signing of Pulisic in January, at that moment, his rights belonged to the Blues. Right now, he's a Chelsea player on loan at Borussia Dortmund. So the fact that they got it done in the winter transfer window means he'll be ready to go at Chelsea in the fall as he debuts in the Premier League. If you read between the lines, it's probably why they got it done in the winter window and did not wait until the summer to make the signing official.
What does it mean for Eden Hazard?
Eden Hazard has been linked with a move away from Chelsea, possibly to Real Madrid, and this doesn't really change that. The ban doesn't prevent Chelsea from selling players, so he is free to move as long as Chelsea and a club come to terms on a transfer. But the fact that Chelsea has its hands tied when it comes to signing players until the summer of 2020 may cause them to push harder to keep Hazard, who has been the team's best player for the last several years.
How big of a blow is it for Chelsea?
It's really significant. This is a team that has struggled in the Premier League and has their current coach Maurizio Sarri likely feeling the heat. In sixth place and with some aging players on the roster, the fact that they can't bring in other players for a bit limits how much they can improve their squad. It remains to be seen what exactly this means for the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Matteo Kovacic. Both are at Chelsea on loan, and if they do enough to warrant Chelsea wanting to buy them, will this ban prevent them from happening? Neither appear to have an obligatory purchase option in their contracts, but it remains to be seen if any previous clauses in their contracts would still allow the Blues to move forward with a deal. In any case, the Blues will likely look into the legal side of it and see what they can do to possibly keep one or both, with Kovacic seeming like the most likely candidate.
FIFA also fined the Blues nearly $600,000 and were given 90 days to "regularize the situation of the minor players concerned."
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