Chelsea insist they have “complied with all Fifa statutes and regulations” despite an initial investigation by world football’s governing body accusing them of rule breaches in signing 25 foreign players under the age of 18.
The Blues could face a transfer ban if found guilty once the case is concluded by Fifa’s disciplinary committee.
Clubs are not allowed to sign under 18s from other countries unless both player and club are within 50km of the national border or their parents have emigrated for non-football reasons. They can sign players aged between 16 and 18 if they are from another country within the European Union or European Economic Area.
Along with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, Chelsea were investigated by the compliance unit of Fifa’s transfer matching system, which flagged up 25 cases.
The other three clubs have already been suspended from buying players for two transfer windows, although Real served just one after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
It has been claimed Chelsea’s offer of professional terms to Burkina Faso forward Bertrand Traore triggered FIFA’s investigation. He signed on January 1 2014 — the start of the first transfer window after his 18th birthday — but pictures later emerged of him playing for the Blues against Arsenal in what was described as a “non-competitive” game in October 2011 when he was just 16.
The disciplinary committee will now conduct a more rigorous investigation and can throw out any of the 25 cases while analysing any incoming transfer over a 10‑year period.
Chelsea said in a statement: “Chelsea FC complies with all FIFA statues and regulations when recruiting players.”
Chelsea have received a request for information from FIFA and have also asked the FA to provide relevant registration details to aid their case.
Fifa declined to comment when contacted by Standard Sport this morning.
The Blues claim they had an agreement to secure Traore’s signing after he turned 18 — a move sanctioned by the FA and Premier League — and so he was free to play in trial games. Traore joined Lyon last year.