Chelsea have been banned from signing players until the end of January 2020 for breaching rules in relation to the international transfer of players under the age of 18.
The Premier League club, who “categorically refute” Fifa’s findings, were also fined £460,000 and plan to appeal against the decision.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at other major European clubs hit with transfer bans.
In April 2014, the current Spanish champions were found guilty of violating transfer regulations by recruiting international players under the age of 18. Fifa handed down a two-window transfer ban and a fine of around £305,000. An appeal delayed the sanctions, allowing Barca to buy striker Luis Suarez for around £64million from Liverpool that summer, as well as Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. Fifa and, later, the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) dismissed the appeal, leaving the Catalan club unable to buy players in 2015.
In the same month as Barca’s ban ended, 13-time European champions Real found themselves in a similar position. Fifa imposed a year-long transfer embargo in January 2016, with the governing body’s appeal panel later confirming the sanction would take place in 2017. The sons of then manager Zinedine Zidane were involved in the case and Real denied wrongdoing. CAS partially upheld the club’s appeal, reducing the ban to just the January 2017 transfer window. Real were still unhappy and said in a statement: “The decision highlights the injustice of the original ban imposed by Fifa, although the club regrets the CAS lacked the courage to revoke the ruling entirely.”
At the same time as Real’s ban, neighbours Atletico suffered a similar fate. Again the issue centred on the transfer of minors. The club was fined around £719,000, later reduced to almost £440,000, and banned from registering players for two transfer windows. Fifa’s investigation concerned players aged under 18 who played in competitions for Atletico between 2007 and 2014. “This ruling is unfair and causes irreparable damage to our club,” Atletico argued in a statement after the ban was upheld by CAS. Unlike city rivals Real, the ban was not reduced, leaving Atletico bemoaning “comparative disadvantage and discriminatory treatment”.