Chelsea have appealed against the one-year transfer ban handed to the Premier League giants, FIFA confirmed on Tuesday, but will have to wait to discover whether the ban will be temporarily lifted pending the outcome of the appeal.
Last month the club were issued with a two-window registration ban and fined 600,000 Swiss francs (over £460,000) by FIFA’s disciplinary committee over the recruitment of 29 foreign players aged under 18.
Chelsea immediately said they “categorically refute the findings” but having now appealed, they must await a decision from FIFA’s appeal committee about whether there will be an easing of restrictions ahead of a hearing being convened.
Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have all been sanctioned for similar offences, but all three managed to delay the ban pending appeal to allow them extra time to prepare.
Barcelona and Atletico unsuccessfully contested their two-window ban, while Real Madrid’s penalty was reduced on appeal to one January window which had little impact.
“We can confirm that FIFA has received an appeal from Chelsea FC over the said case,” a FIFA spokesman said.
“As a general rule we do not make comparisons with previous cases.
“There is no exact timetable for the hearings and decisions taken by the FIFA appeal committee.”
The ability to recruit new players this summer is pivotal for Chelsea with doubts over Eden Hazard’s future at the club with little progress made on extending the Belgian’s contract beyond 2020, while strike Gonzalo Higuain is only on loan from Juventus until the end of the season.
FIFA probed Chelsea’s signing of foreign under-18 players, including the club’s former forward Bertrand Traore, a Burkina Faso international who now plays for French Ligue 1 club Lyon.
French website Mediapart, quoting documents from Football Leaks, reported that FIFA found evidence that Chelsea had supplied misleading information about Traore’s signing and that he had made more than 20 appearances for the club at different age levels despite not being registered by the Football Association (FA).
FIFA also fined England’s football association 510,000 Swiss francs for breaking the rules on signing minors.