Chelsea have had their appeal against a transfer ban imposed by FIFA rejected.
The club will now lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as a last resort, but it now looks almost certain that they will not be able to sign any new players for the next two transfer windows.
The ban was imposed on the Stamford Bridge outfit but of illegalities in the signing of players under 18 from abroad, with 29 out of 92 potential breaches found to be proven.
A partial exemption allows Chelsea to sign players under 16 from the UK, and the club’s women and futsal sides are not affected.
In addition, reports The BBC, the fine of £460,000 imposed on the club remains in place as well.
The ban is likely to have a major effect on planned departures as well, with Chelsea now less likely than ever to want the likes of Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson Odoi to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.