FIFA receives Chelsea appeal against 1-year transfer ban

ZURICH — FIFA has received Chelsea’s appeal against a one-year transfer ban, though has not decided on Tuesday whether to freeze the sanction during the legal process and clear the club to sign players in the off-season.

Chelsea previously said it would challenge the ban on registering new players through January 2020 which FIFA imposed for breaching rules designed to protect teenage players from trafficking.

In similar cases, FIFA has agreed not to enforce the ban during a club’s appeal process.

That policy let Barcelona and Real Madrid sign players ahead of their bans taking effect in recent years. Barcelona eventually could not register new players for two trading periods, and Madrid served a one-period ban.

“There is no exact timetable for the hearings and decisions taken by the FIFA appeal committee,” soccer’s governing body said, with the panel’s chairman set to decide on freezing the punishment.

The committee chairman is Thomas Bodstrom, a former justice minister in Sweden.

Still, FIFA cautioned against assuming Chelsea will get the same benefits as the Spanish clubs, noting “as a general rule we do not make comparisons with previous cases.”

Chelsea was punished last month after FIFA’s disciplinary committee judged that rules protecting minors were violated in 29 cases. The club was also fined 600,000 Swiss francs ($600,000).

Some of the cases involved players under the age of 18 spending too much time on trial at Chelsea while not registered with England’s soccer federations, which was also fined by FIFA.

FIFA prohibits international transfers on minors unless their families moved to a country for non-soccer reasons, or are close to the border of another nation. Exceptions within the European Union and European Economic Community allows the transfer of 16- to 18-year-old players if standards on education and living conditions are met.

Chelsea denies wrongdoing, and said it was cleared by FIFA after scrutiny of 63 more players’ cases.

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