Chelsea boss Frank Lampard this afternoon spoke for the first time since his side’s transfer ban was officially lifted.
FIFA’s Chelsea case
Premier League giants Chelsea were hit with a 2-window signing embargo by FIFA late in February.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the English club Chelsea FC and The Football Association for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18. Read more on @FIFAcom ▶️ https://t.co/iTpcozM7Mz
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) February 22, 2019
The news came on the back of a long-running investigation into Chelsea’s recent transfer dealings, with a particular emphasis on the arrival of players under the age of 18.
After opening their initial investigation early last year, FIFA quickly flagged 25 cases which they deemed to be worthy of ‘further scrutiny’.
World football’s governing body since delved deeper into Chelsea’s dealings on the transfer market over recent years, with phase two of their inquiry having taken a close look at how the Blues have registered players in their academy system of late.
The capital giants were fully compliant with FIFA’s search, and opened their books with no hesitation.
However, after as many as 100 cases required further investigation on the part of FIFA, the organisation’s disciplinary committee opened discussions regarding a possible sanction, before confirming Chelsea’s transfer ban on the 22nd of February.
Figures via the Guardian.
Chelsea unsurprisingly took immediate action on the back of their sanction being made official, lodging an appeal with FIFA to have their ban frozen for 6 months, to ensure at least 1 transfer window during which they could secure reinforcements ahead of putting together a case to defend themselves.
Speaking in an interview with the Mirror, a FIFA spokesperson revealed:
‘We can confirm that FIFA has received an appeal from Chelsea FC over the said case.’
‘Any decision on the sanction remaining in place during the appeal process is to be taken by the chairman of the Fifa Appeal Committee.’
FIFA stand firm
But it was subsequently confirmed early in March that Chelsea’s request had been firmly rejected:
FIFA have denied Chelsea’s request to freeze their transfer ban while they appeal. It means that as things stand, the club won’t be able to register new players this summer. Full @ESPNFC story shortly #cfc
— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) March 8, 2019
‘Look at the market going forward’
Those in charge at Stamford Bridge, though, refused to give up hope of having their ban reduced from two windows to one.
The Pensioners lodged a further appeal earlier this year, which was subsequently heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport late last month.
And, as was made official earlier today, Chelsea’s latest appeal proved successful, resulting in the club’s ban being halved.
As such, the capital giants are now free to add to Frank Lampard’s squad next month.
As a result, speaking in a press conference ahead of his side’s visit to struggling Everton tomorrow afternoon, the Chelsea boss was inevitably asked for his thoughts on the Blues’ successful appeal.
Lampard went on to explain:
‘It is what it is. Now we know. Obviously the club was working towards that, and it’s a positive outcome for us.’
‘It allows us the potential to look at the market going forward. So I’m pleased from a footballing level.’
‘It was never my business to get involved in the reasons why or the legal side of it. So from my point of view for the club moving forward it’s obviously a good thing.’
When drawn on the possibility of fresh faces arriving at Stamford Bridge in January, though, Lampard was keen to keep his cards close to his chest:
‘I’m certainly not going to sit here today and go too far down any lines with that. But we’ll see where we are.’
‘I’m happy with the squad here. We’re doing okay. My job is always to focus on the next game and what’s in front of us.’
‘In terms of the bigger picture and what we do going forward, of course that’s constant and it is sometimes fluid, so there are no absolute answers at this point.’
Quotes via football.london