Chelsea have expressed their delight at having their transfer ban lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, before taking a swipe at FIFA for their handling of the situation.
FIFA hit the Blues with a two-window transfer ban after finding them to be guilty of numerous breaches of regulations in relation to signing young players, but Chelsea always maintained their innocence and pleaded with CAS to lift the ban.
Frank Lampard on the transfer ban being reduced says it is a positive outcome and he is pleased for football reasons. He adds there has been no discussion yet about potential transfers. #EVECHE
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 6, 2019
The ban was shortened to just one window, which Chelsea already served during the summer, meaning they are now free to sign players in January. Writing on their official website, the Blues took the opportunity to slate FIFA for their actions during the investigation.
Their statement began: “The approach taken by FIFA to this case has been deeply unsatisfactory, not least as FIFA chose to treat Chelsea entirely differently to Manchester City for reasons that make absolutely no sense to Chelsea.
“FIFA accused Chelsea of having breached Article 19 of the FIFA regulations in relation to 27 players, covering the period from 2009 onwards. Of those, 16 players were registered by Chelsea in exactly the same way as other Premier League clubs registered players at the time.
“Furthermore, Chelsea sought clarification from the Premier League in 2009 about whether it needed to apply for permission to register players in this category. The FA subsequently liaised with FIFA and it was confirmed to Chelsea that players in this category were entitled to register and that no special application was required (and in fact no special application process existed).
“Accordingly, the fact that FIFA brought charges against Chelsea for this category of player was perverse. We are grateful that this appears to have been corrected by the CAS.”
The Blues also explained the controversy around the rest of the charges against them, adding that FIFA must address the inconsistencies in their punishments.
“Six players qualified for one of the exceptions set out in the FIFA regulations,” they said. “As a consequence, to the extent there was any breach in relation to these players, the breaches were of a procedural nature only.
“With respect to the remaining five players, FIFA’s position was that it ‘deemed’ these players to have registered prior to any application for registration being made. Chelsea maintains, as was held by CAS in the Real Madrid case, that the FIFA regulations do not cover a concept of ‘deemed registrations’ and accordingly it is not open to FIFA to ‘deem’ that registrations were made before they were in fact made.
“Chelsea respects the importance of the work undertaken by FIFA in relation to the protection of minors and has fully cooperated with FIFA throughout its investigation.
“However, if FIFA continues to impose inconsistent and unequal sanctions on clubs then it will not only undermine the very purpose of the regulations, but it will also bring into doubt the game’s confidence in FIFA being able to appropriately regulate this important area.”