London – Just hours after Chelsea win in the Europa league earned its under-fire ex-banker coach Maurizio Sarri some breathing space, the club owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was handed another blow: A ban on signing new players.
The English team will not be allowed to register new squad members during the next two transfer windows, international soccer body FIFA said in a statement Friday, citing breaches of Article 19 of regulations related to the club’s recruitment of youth players. Chelsea said it “categorically refutes” FIFA’s findings and will appeal the decision.
The news is particularly untimely as the team languishes in sixth place in the Premier League, 15 points behind pace-setters Manchester City and Liverpool. Bookmakers have slashed odds on Sarri to be fired following defeats to both City and their local neighbors Manchester United over the past two weeks.