Chelsea have had their FIFA imposed transfer ban lifted on appeal, meaning that they are now free to sign new players again in January.
The ban was imposed by footballs world governing body in relation to breaches of the regulations regarding the signing of players from abroad aged under 18 over several seasons, rules designed to protect children from trafficking and exploitation. After being found guilty of 150 such offences, they were banned from signing any players for two transfer windows one of which they have already served in the summer and were fined 600,000 Swiss Francs (460,000) into the bargain as well.
After FIFA upheld the ban, Chelsea took their appeal to CAS (The Court of Arbitration for Sport) on November 20th, whose judgement was finally delivered on Friday. CAS found that Chelsea had breached the rules, but in a significantly fewer cases than FIFA had claimed, and, therefore, decided to cut the transfer ban, and reduce the fine imposed to 300,000 Swiss Francs (230,000).
Chelsea are not the first club to be found guilty of transgressing these rules. Both Real Madrid and Atltico Madrid received similar such bans in early 2016, and La Liga rivals Barcelona were given a 14 month ban two years earlier, although that was later reduced on appeal as well.
The lifting of the ban means that Chelsea are likely to be amongst the biggest spenders in the January transfer window, with possible targets include England winger Jadon Sancho, currently playing for Borussia Dortmund, and Crystal Palaces Wilfried Zaha.
However, manager Frank Lampard will not want to bring in new players to the detriment of the current crop of academy graduates doing so well for him this season.
One consequence of the transfer ban is that Lampard has been forced to rely on the clubs youngsters, and they have amply repaid his faith in them, with Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori all not only becoming first-team regulars, but forcing their way into the England team as well. And there is also the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, much coveted by Bayern Munich, and full-back Reece James also making their mark at Stamford Bridge this season.