Chelsea provide 'comprehensive evidence' on FIFA compliance
More from Football Leaks as FIFA investigate the London club for signing under age players suggesting they acted in bad faith over Bertrand Traoré.
English Premier League club Chelsea has said it is cooperating with a FIFA investigation into possible violations of the global football's governing body's rules regarding the signing of foreign players under the age of 18. Following the FIFA santions handed out to Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, the Stamford Bridge club could be the next of football's world elite to be punished for the illegal signing of underage players. Four other unidentified side in the English top flight are also being looked into.
Chelsea transfer ban possible
According to the report by Mediapart, one of the international outlets publishing the documents from Football Leaks, FIFA's Integrity & Compliance Department has proposed sanctions on Chelsea of being unable to sign any player for four transfer windows, effectively two years, as well as a fine. World football's governing body is investigating 19 signings of the London club, of which 14 were under the approved age of 18, without falling into other allowed categories, or being given special permission.
Among the 14 signings under investigation is that of Bertrand Traoré, now a Lyon player in Ligue 1. The Burkinabé forward officially arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2014, aged 18, however FIFA have documents that suggest the club acted in bad faith surrounding the real dates of the transfer.
In October 2011 (when Traoré was just 16) the player was involved in a U-18 match against Arsenal. The club was forced to confess that they actually acquired a first refusal option on the youngster from his mother in April 2011. The value at that time was 177,000 euros, with a further 15,000 euros being paid to his club AJE Bobo-Dioulasso, which happened to be chaired by the player's mother. It also came to light that the agreement was an option for four and a half years despite there being a limit for minors of three years, and reports also revealed that the club paid for Traoré to go to school in England and aid his mother and brother's move.
Chelsea said in a statement on Wednesday that "the club has fully cooperated with FIFA and has provided comprehensive evidence demonstrating its compliance with the applicable FIFA regulations".
Chelsea will hope to clear their name so as not to be punished in the same way as, or more severely than, the Spanish clubs mentioned earlier.