FIFA reject Chelsea’s request to freeze transfer ban during appeal process

What’s next for the club?

Earlier today, it was made official that football’s governing body FIFA rejected the request from Chelsea Football Club to to freeze the club’s two-transfer-window ban during an appeal.

WHAT HAPPENED

The Premier League side, who are ‘astonished’ by today’s decision, were last month banned from registering players until the summer of 2020, for for allegedly breaking rules on the signings of minors from abroad (Article 19 of FIFA’s transfer regulations).

Chelsea denied any wrongdoing and subsequently lodged an appeal with the governing body. However, FIFA’s appeal committee has announced that an application by the club for “provisional measures” has been rejected.

Bertrand Traore’s move to Chelsea in 2013 is understood to have been one of the key cases in FIFA’s investigation against the Premier League side

Hours after FIFA’s denial of their request, Chelsea released a full statement on their website expressing their surprise and astonishment at being treated differently than other clubs that have gone through the same process:

“Chelsea Football Club is astonished by the Fifa appeal committee’s decision not to suspend its sanction pending completion of the appeal process,

The club acted in accordance with the relevant regulations and has already notified FIFA of its intention to appeal against the Disciplinary Committee’s decision and sanction. As a matter of procedural fairness and equality of treatment, and Swiss law, the Club’s right to an appeal process must be afforded, before any irremediable sanction takes effect.

So far as the Club is aware, in all previous cases where a registration ban has been imposed by FIFA, a decision has also been made to suspend the sanction until the appeal process has been completed. In this case, Chelsea considers that it is being treated inconsistently in comparison with other European clubs.

We will consider our next steps once we have received the written reasons for this decision from FIFA. The Club notes the Appeal Committee’s statement that it has the right to appeal to CAS. In the meantime the Club will continue to fully cooperate with the proceedings.”

WHAT’S NEXT FOR CHELSEA?

As it stands right now, FIFA’s decision means the original restrictions stand and Chelsea will be unable to recruit new players this summer or in the January 2020 transfer window.

Chelsea can appeal this decision to CAS and feel that they have case of an argument to do so after being treated unfairly compared to other European clubs – La Liga sides Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid specifically.

In previous similar cases involving the Spanish clubs, FIFA granted provisional measures which meant transfer bans were not enforced during the appeal process.

Barcelona successfully froze its April 2014 ban and used the offseason to sign a slew of players, including Luis Suarez from Liverpool, and then won the Champions League title.

Key players Ivan Rakitić and Marc-André ter Stegen also signed while the ban was on hold. They were joined by Thomas Vermaelen, Jeremy Mathieu and Claudio Bravo as Barcelona loaded up on talent ahead of being unable to register new players in 2015 after its full appeal against FIFA was lost at CAS.

Friday’s ruling hints at a change of philosophy at FIFA with new senior lawyers and a different appeals chairman – Thomas Bodstrom – who joined after those cases were decided.

MY TAKE ON THE CURRENT SITUATION

To say I’m astounded, just like Chelsea themselves are, with FIFA’s decision is a huge understatement. Regardless of this being a ‘change of philosophy’, this feels like completely like double standards from our governing body.

Although I wouldn’t go as far as saying that the transfer ban given to the club in 2009 surrounding the transfer of Gaël Kakuta had a determining factor on today’s decision… I wouldn’t be surprised if this was in the back of the mind of the Appeal Committee when the decision was being made.

FIFA hate to lose, at anything. Especially when it comes to something from a financial perspective.

By denying Chelsea’s appeal to freeze the sanction, FIFA is ignoring all precedents that they set, even if it’s a blatant exploitation of the loophole of the system they created and previously followed.

With FIFA more-or-less immediately rejecting the appeal, this reaffirms what many already believe to be (whisper it quietly)

An agenda against Chelsea.

With all of this in mind, I still believe – like I mentioned in my previous article on the matter – that if we look at the transfer ban itself and not what FIFA has done today, that this is a blessing in disguise for the Blues.

The image below is a completely hypothetical look at what our squad could look like for the 2019/2020 if the transfer ban was still in place and the club was not allowed to register any additional players.

On face value, the squad doesn’t look that bad. In fact, in my opinion, it actually looks stronger than what we currently have right now.

Which says an awful lot.

The transfer ban is not the perfect scenario but let’s be honest… We can’t make a title winning squad in one window. One window makes will make a difference, but not enough for us to become a dominant force once again domestically and in Europe.

Poor investment and management have got us where we’re at right now. Long-term planning is needed to get us out of it. We need at least two, if not three windows to overhaul the squad completely – eradicating it of all deadwood and players who can’t improve us on the pitch.

IN CONCLUSION

The likelihood is that Chelsea will eventually end up with the ban being imposed, whether it’s suspended by CAS or not. With this said, don’t expect the issue to be resolved quickly.

As mentioned on Twitter earlier, Chelsea cannot appeal the appeal until the first appeal is completed. And if we go by the previous cases, this will take a few months at the very earliest, much longer than we would like as the summer window is not far off. If this happens, January 2020 will more than likely be our next transfer window, not this summer. If this is the case, some if not many of the ‘loan army’ will definitely be considered for first-team duties come next season.

No matter what happens now, the club need to do some MAJOR work to improve the playing squad and organisation of how the club is run – on the pitch – whether we have a transfer ban or not.

Here’s hoping for luck to be looking on our side over the next few months…

Written by Terry Sazio

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2 thoughts on “FIFA reject Chelsea’s request to freeze transfer ban during appeal process

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