Chelsea Football Club have been hit with ban from buying new players in the next two transfer windows after being found guilty of breaching rules on signing players under 18.
FIFA announced on Friday that Chelsea infringed registration requirements for 20 players under the age of 18.
Football’s world governing body said two agreements the club had concluded for two of its youth players “allowed it to influence other clubs in transfer-related matters”.
Chelsea have also been fined 600,000 Swiss francs (€528,669), while England’s Football Association (FA) has been fined 510,000 Swiss francs (€449,482).
The FA has been given six months to address concerns over registration of youth players.
Chelsea have the right to contest the decision in an appeal to the FIFA Appeal Committee.
The ban does not apply for Chelsea’s women’s team and the club can still release or sell players.
The most contentious signing was former under-18s player Bertrand Traore. According to leaked documents by French website Mediapart, Chelsea offered the Burkina Faso international a four-and-a-half year deal in 2013 despite minors only being allowed to have a contract of three years maximum.
The player was not registered with the FA and reports claim FIFA believed Chelsea misled them over dates concerning the signing of Traore's first professional contract.
This isn’t the first time Chelsea have been banned for similar reasons.
They were given a ban in 2009 after a complaint of then youth player Gael Kakuta joining the club illegally in 2007. Chelsea appealed that decision and had the ban reduced.
FIFA bans the transfer of under-18s between different countries unless they meet certain strict criteria.
The rules were brought in to help stop possible exploitation and trafficking of children.
According to FIFA, under-18s can be transferred abroad if the player’s parents move to the country where the new club is located but only for non-footballing reasons.
They must also live within 100 kilometres of the new club. Players aged between 16 and 18 can move if both clubs are within the European Union or European Economic Area, while the purchasing club must provide education and living facilities.