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Explainer: Why and how do clubs get transfer banned by FIFA in relation to the signing of minors?

Written by: Anjishnu Roy

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The Blues have become the latest club to incur the wrath of world football's apex body so we simply the laws they breached.

Chelsea FC became the latest in the list of clubs to be slapped with transfer bans by FIFA, the highest governing body in the game of football. Chelsea were punished with the sanction after they were found guilty of breaching certain FIFA laws when it comes to the signing of players under the age of 18 (qualifying as minors). Along with a two-window transfer ban, they have also been fined 460,000 pounds and have been given a period of 90 days to ‘normalise the situation of the players concerned.’

Along with the London based club, FIFA has also found the FA guilty of allowing certain illegitimate deals to proceed and have fined the organisation £390,000 and imposed a six-month period to ‘regularise the situation.’

So what exactly are the laws that concern the signing of minors and how were they broken?



According to the official FIFA announcement, Chelsea were found to have breached article 19 of FIFA’s Regulations on the Transfer and Status of Players. Along with that, they also breached article 18b, is that deals with third-party influence in the signing of players in connection with two agreements reached with minors.

Article 19 of FIFA’s regulations deals with the protection of minors. This article states that international transfers of players under the age of 18 are only allowed if:

  1. Parents of the player moves to that country for non-football related reasons.
  2. If the transfer takes place within the territory of the European Union or the European Economic Area and the player’s age is between 16 and 18, his/her new club must follow certain obligations that include: 
  • The club is responsible for providing football education in line with the highest national standards. The club should provide the player academic education and/or vocational training along with his football education so as to enable him to pursue another career in case he fails to make it as a professional footballer.
  • The club must provide the minor with the best possible accommodation and standard of comfortable living.
  • The club must then provide evidence to the concerned authorities to show that it has met with these obligations.

Barcelona won the European treble in 2014-15, despite the transfer ban


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Section 3 of Article 19 dictates that the jurisdiction of the previous rules to any player who has never previously been registered with a club, is not a national of the country in which he wishes to be registered for the first time and has not lived continuously for at least the last five years in said country.

Sections 4 and 5 deal with complicated legal procedures that oversee the method with which investigations are carried out with the approval of Players’ Status Committee and the Disciplinary Committee.

Article 18b dictates that clubs aren’t allowed to enter into any contracts that enables third parties the ability to influence in the employment and transfer-related matters its independence, its policies or the performance of its teams.

Chelsea now join FC Barcelona, Real Madrid CF and Atlético de Madrid who were previously punished with such transfer window bans for irregular dealings in the transfer of minors. Chelsea have been found of guilty of breaking the laws in the investigation of 29 players under the age of 18. The number was 31 in case of Barcelona, 70 in case of Real Madrid and 221 for Atletico Madrid.

Published: Sat Feb 23, 2019 03:40 PM IST

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