Chelsea could now trade in the January transfer window after the Court of Arbitration for Sport agreed to suspend their FIFA-imposed transfer ban until a final decision is made in the case of the signing of Gael Kakuta. FIFA banned the Blues from any transfer activity for the next two periods of transfer activity in early September after they were found guilty of inducing Kakuta to breach his contract with French club Lens.
A statement from CAS read: "The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has granted the request for a stay filed by Chelsea Football Club Ltd and Mr Gael Kakuta in relation to the decision taken by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber on 27 August 2009.
"The FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber imposed, inter alia, a restriction of four months' ineligibility on Mr Gael Kakuta, and Chelsea Football Club Ltd was banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for the next two complete, consecutive registration periods. Such sanctions are now stayed until the CAS renders its final decision in this matter."
CAS are not expected to hear the case until the New Year, which should leave Chelsea free to buy and sell as normal in January. CAS confirmed on October 22 they had received an appeal from Chelsea asking for the ban to be stayed.
Immediately after the decision of FIFA's dispute resolution chamber was made public, Chelsea made clear their intent to appeal against the ban and compensation payments to Lens of almost one million euros, which they described as "disproportionate".
Professor Ian Blackshaw, a CAS lawyer, believes there is little chance of reaching a final decision on the case until well into the New Year, meaning Chelsea should enjoy an unimpeded transfer window in January.
"Until the appeal is finally decided by CAS the position before the appeal is reversed. That means Chelsea are free, if they wish to do so, to deal in the transfer market in January," he told Sky Sports News.
"Once all the paperwork is there then it is possible to hold a hearing. In this case, because it's such an important one, I imagine there will be an oral hearing rather than a decision based just on papers. In that case it will be possible for Kakuta to present his version of the facts.
"I don't think we will get an appeal much before March or even April next year.
"It is possible for parties to ask CAS for an expedited hearing under the rules, which would allow the appeal to be fast-tracked but I know that CAS are extremely busy, not just with football disputes, and they have a very busy schedule.
"The chances of getting an expedited hearing are slim, if not impossible, so I feel a decision will be made in the first quarter of next year at the earliest."