The threat of the ban, which we have written about before, is one of the reasons why Chelsea splashed the cash on Christian Pulisic in January.
Chelsea have announced that they would be appealing the decision after ‘categorically’ refuting the findings of FIFA’s disciplinary committee.
The west London club’s ban relates to the signings of minors, with the investigation sparked by the circumstances surrounding the arrival of former player Bertrand Traore.
They had been found to have breached article 19 of FIFA’s regulations with regards to the transfer of 29 minor players and article 18 regarding two further minors.
They have now been banned from registering new players for the next two transfer windows, the coming summer window and next January.
They will first appeal to FIFA and then the Court of Arbitration for Sport. That means they will almost certainly be able to get the ban pushed back until after the summer window, in order to do any key business.
They have also been fined 600,000 Swiss Francs (£460,314). The FA have been found to have breached the rules in connection with minors too and have been fined 510,000 Swiss Francs (£391,260) — they have announced they will be appealing that decision.
The ban means that Chelsea cannot replace their stars that want to leave, or the players whose contracts are up at the end of the season.
What happens to Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who have both attracted the attention of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. If they leave in the summer Chelsea might not be able to replace them, so will the Blues make them run down their contracts and leave for free when the window opens for them in 2020?
Also, decisions have to be made about the futures of David Luiz, Olivier Giroud, Gary Cahill, Willy Caballero and Rob Green. Their contracts run out in the summer but Chelsea can renew their deals in lieu of signing new players.
The winner in this might be Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. Sarri is under huge pressure with his side sixth in the Premier League. But the Blues job will not appeal to any of the top managerial candidates now as they will not have the ability to bring in new players. Which means that Sarri could still be manager next season, simply because they cannot find anyone to replace him.