Chelsea transfer ban, slapped down by FIFA for breaking youth transfer rules, has been reduced after their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was successful.
The outcome means that Blues manager Frank Lampard will be able to sign new players in the January transfer window. He will be given a £150million warchest to improve his squad next month.
Chelsea, owned by Roman Abramovich, were given a two-window ban last season after failing to register young overseas players over a number of seasons but that has been cut to one following their successful appeal.
The Premier League club has therefore already served the suspension as they were not able to make any new additions last summer.
Chelsea denied any wrongdoing and will look to spend in January, with Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, Leicester full back Ben Chilwell and Lyon striker Moussa Dembele among their targets.
The sole arbitrator found that CFC did violate Articles 19.1 (related to the international transfer of minors) and 19.3 (related to the first registration of minors), but for a significantly smaller number of players (about one third of the violations found by FIFA),’ a CAS statement read on Friday.
‘In addition, the violations of other RSTP rules were found to be less serious than those attributed to Chelsea FC by FIFA.
‘Accordingly, the sole arbitrator reduced the sanction to one single transfer ban (which Chelsea FC already served during the 2019 summer registration period), and halved the monetary sanction.’
Swiss-based CAS confirmed it had ‘modified’ FIFA’s sanctions following Chelsea’s appeal, halving the length of the transfer ban and also cutting the club’s fine in two.
The CAS statement read: ‘The following sanctions have now been imposed by the CAS: Chelsea is banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally for one entire registration period, which the club already served during the 2019 summer registration period.
Chelsea is ordered to pay a fine to FIFA of the amount of £231,000 (300,000 Swiss Francs).
‘The warning and the reprimand are confirmed.’
Lampard will now be able to try to bring in new recruits next month. Chelsea did welcome winger Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund during the 2019 summer transfer window after signing him last January for £58m.
The Blues were also able to bring in Mateo Kovacic on a £40m permanent deal from Real Madrid as he was already registered with FIFA having spent last season on loan at Stamford Bridge.
If Chelsea can bring a new striker in, it could pave the way for Olivier Giroud to exit the club.
Chelsea challenged verdicts by FIFA’s disciplinary and appeal committees which stated that they had violated rules protecting minors from trafficking on 150 occasions. Those cases involved about 70 players.
The Premier League club also broke rules prohibiting third-party influence on players, with FIFA imposing a fine of £467,000 (600,000 Swiss Francs).
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s clash at Everton, Lampard said: ‘Now we know. The club was working towards that. It is a positive outcome for us. It allows us to look at the market going forward.
‘If the club feel there are positions we can strengthen then we would do. That’s what all big clubs do. This is why people expected less of us.
‘It is important who we bring in but it is important to keep the balance of the squad right. I don’t see it as 11 players but 20 plus men. As a manager, I need to ensure we go in the right direction.
‘It doesn’t matter if it is January or July, if a player is going to improve the squad then it is the right moment.’
On specific targets, he added: ‘There are no absolute answers.’