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Chelsea banned from signing players for two windows after breaking FIFA transfer rules

Chelsea banned from signing players for two windows after breaking FIFA transfer rules
Premier League side Chelsea FC have been banned from signing players for the next two transfer windows and handed a near €600k ($460k) fine after being found to have broken rules related to the signing of youth players.

This comes following a FIFA investigation into irregularities regarding Chelsea's transfer and registration of 29 foreign under-18 players, including Burkina Faso international Bertrand Traore who is now at Lyon.

Traore signed a professional contract with Chelsea in 2013 at the age of 18 but was not registered by the club until the following year and he was found to have made 25 appearances for the team, from the youth setup to the first team, before his registration was official.

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Per Football Leaks, Roman Ambramovich's side has been under investigation for more than three years and it has focused on the registration of 19 players in particular - 14 of whom were under-18.

The Football Association was also issued with a €447k ($507k) penalty, after also being found guilty of breaking rules related to the registration of foreign youth players. The protection of minors is a central issue in FIFA's regulations.

The FA was also told that it has 6 months to address any blindspots in their regulations for the registration of foreign players at English clubs.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee found that Chelsea violated article 19 of the Regulations, as well as numerous infringements related to player registration, leading to football's governing body issuing the Premier League side with a ban on registering new players for two consecutive transfer windows. 

The ban does not apply to the club's women's and futsal teams. In addition, the club has been given 90 days to standardize the registration of the underage players in question.

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The findings of the Disciplinary Committee can be contested before the FIFA Appeal Committee, as seems likely. 

Spanish trio Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have all been hit with similar transfer bans in recent years, also in relation to the registration of youth players.