Eden Hazard has been linked with a move away from Chelsea this summer.
CNN  — 

Chelsea will be unable to sign any new players for the next two transfer windows after Fifa upheld a ban relating to its signing of foreign minor players.

The Premier League club was sanctioned after an investigation into its conduct in transferring and registering overseas players under 18.

However, Chelsea will be allowed to sign under-16 players from the UK.

“The Fifa Appeal Committee has decided to partially uphold the appeal lodged by Chelsea,” the statement reads. “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.”

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Fifa’s rules state that clubs cannot sign under-18 players from another country unless their parents have emigrated for non-football related reasons.

The ban puts star player Eden Hazard’s future in doubt, with the Belgian being strongly linked with a move away from London this summer.

Real Madrid seems his likeliest destination but a move may be delayed for another year if Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is unable to sign a replacement.

Atletico Madrid, Real and Barcelona have all had transfer bans imposed in recent years, although the Catalan club’s appeal meant the ban was pushed back a transfer window and allowed them to sign several players, including Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic.

Chelsea may also lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and request its ban be temporarily suspended while a final appeal is heard, which would allow the signing of players this summer.

The ban is set to be in place until the end of January 2020.

The club has also been fined 600,000 Swiss Francs ($590,000).