Chelsea could be in big trouble.
FIFA have confirmed they’re investigating Chelsea’s youth transfer policy yet again, specifically over the recruitment of foreign players under the age of 18.
What could the punishment be? The worst-case scenario is that Chelsea would be banned from signing any new players across its senior or youth levels but it is believed this situation isn’t as serious as previous investigations involving Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Via the Telegraph, FIFA had the following to say about the investigation: “As the investigation is ongoing, no further comment is possible for the time being.”
Chelsea released a short statement saying: “Chelsea FC complies with all FIFA Statutes and Regulations when recruiting players.”
It will be the third time in eight years that world soccer’s governing body have looked at Chelsea’s youth policy and back in 2009 they were handed a transfer ban for two transfer windows over the signing of French teenager Gael Kakuta from Lens in 2007 but that was later overturned after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was successful.
Chelsea were also investigated last year over the signing of Bertrand Traore after images emerged of him playing for the club as a 16-year-old, before international clearance had arrived.
Spanish clubs Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have been found guilty after similar investigations took place with Barca banned from signing players for two transfer windows and the same happening to Atletico who can’t sign any new players until January 2018, while Real Madrid had their ban reduced to one window after an appeal.
In the UK both Liverpool and Manchester City have recently been handed fines and bans for not following rules over recruiting young players domestically.
For foreign players signing for a team in another country there are strict rules in place.
Their family must either be relocating for non soccer reasons to the country where the new club is based, they must live no further than 50km from a national border and the club with which the player wishes to be registered with is within that 50km radius, or if they sign between the age of 16-18 the new club must provide them with housing, access to education and a soccer education.