Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea were left in deep crisis after losing their appeal against Fifa over their transfer ban and will not be able to sign players for the next two windows.
The west London club were initially punished by the world governing body in February for breaking rules over the acquisition of 29 foreign minors.
The Blues released a statement in March expressing their astonishment that Fifa were not freezing the ban while the process was carried out.
Now they have lost appeal too and it is expected they will take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
A statement released by Fifa today said: “The Fifa Appeal Committee has decided to partially uphold the appeal lodged by Chelsea FC against the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to sanction the club with a ban on registering new players at both national and international level for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods.
“This ban applied to the club as a whole – with the exception of the women’s and futsal teams – and did not prevent the release of players.”
Fifa did state that Chelsea will still be allowed to sign players under the age of 16 as long as they do so according to the rules.