Feb. 22 (UPI) -- FIFA has banned Chelsea from signing new players until 2020 after finding that the Premier League club broke regulations of signing players younger than 18.
FIFA also issued a $600,000 fine for the London-based franchise. FIFA found Chelsea breached the regulations by signing 29 underage players.
"The Disciplinary Committee sanctioned Chelsea with a ban on registering new players at both national and international level for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods," FIFA said in a news release. "This ban applies to the club as a whole -- with the exception of the women's and futsal teams -- and does not prevent the release of players."
The Blues released a statement on Friday refuting the findings of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and will appeal the decision.
The club wishes to emphasize that it respects the important work undertaken by FIFA in relation to the protection of minors and has fully cooperated with FIFA throughout its investigation," Chelsea said.
"Initially, Chelsea FC was charged under Articles 19.1 and 19.3 in relation to 92 players. We welcome the fact that FIFA has accepted that there was no breach in relation to 63 of these players, but the club is extremely disappointed that FIFA has not accepted the club's submissions in relation to the remaining 29 players. Chelsea FC acted in accordance with the relevant regulations and will shortly be submitting its appeal to FIFA."
FIFA also fined the Football Association nearly $510,000 and gave the FA six months to "address the situation concerning the international transfer and first registration of minors in football."