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Chelsea 'astonished'? They should be after FIFA's latest show of double standards

COMMENT: In the end they settled on "astonished". But you can just imagine some of the words bouncing around Chelsea's board room when considering their response to FIFA's latest act of double standards.

To catch you up, Chelsea have been told to forget about a freeze of their transfer ban. Flying in the face of precedent, FIFA declared - no matter what Chelsea have planned - the suspension will run this coming summer transfer window and also for January. Chelsea were under the clearly naive and misguided impression that FIFA would act with consistency. Apply the same standards to them as they did to the LaLiga trio of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Allow Chelsea to work this summer's market while their appeal against FIFA's ruling was heard by the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS).

But this is FIFA. And as we have seen so often in the past. If there's a chance to stick it to zee English. They'll take it.

Like Chelsea, those three Spanish giants were also found guilty of breaches in FIFA's laws of signing players under 18 years of age. But unlike the English club, Barca, Real and Atletico - crucially - were all able to suspend the penalty for at least one transfer window.

And it's right to say crucially when you consider Barca's actions back in 2014 when they were hit with a 14 month - or two window - ban.

Getting on the front foot and appealing to CAS, Barca were able to work the market that summer. And just consider the work they achieved: Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Jeremy Mathieu, Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen were all added to the squad that year. In the meantime, CAS ruled in FIFA's favour. The ban kicked off in January. And Barca? Well, that season the club went on to win the LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League Treble...

"Astonished" is the right word. Especially considering the one response we've had from FIFA since their announcement via a spokesman to The Sun: “As a general rule we do not make comparisons with previous cases".

Do what? That's what law is all about. Precedent. Standards. It's what institutions are built on. To make "no comparisons" simply generates distrust. Resentment. And later chaos. The sort of chaos, let's say, that is generated when after several years of an agents' registry, you rip it all up and make it a free-for-all. Yeah, of course such a Thunderdome approach is just ideal for protecting the movement of junior and teenage players around the world...

But let's stick to precedent. Or better yet, let's say 'previous'. Because FIFA have previous. Especially when it comes to the Real Madrid ruling. Again, like Barca, Real were able to push their suspension forward one transfer window. Oh, but there's more...

Real's 14 month ban was HALVED on their appeal. And conveniently the one window they served their suspension was (you guessed it) the Mickey Mouse January edition. FIFA's case against Real was so flimsy, they even claimed Zinedine Zidane's four sons Enzo, Luca, Theo and Eliaz were foreign signings, even though the family hadn't moved from Madrid since 2001.

At the time of writing, Chelsea still hadn't received anything from FIFA about why the freeze on the ban had been rejected. And while soundings were made to the press that the Blues would receive "the written reasons imminently" you again have to wonder about the behaviour of FIFA when they make the announcement before letting Chelsea know their findings. These two parties need to work together in the future. Even if Chelsea are guilty on all counts, blindsiding them like this does no-one - except some egos - any good.

But none of this is about redemption. About nudging. Pushing Chelsea in the right direction. This is just to single them out. To get 'em. How could anyone connected to Chelsea think otherwise? Particularly when the inconsistencies are so clear?

"Astonished"? There's plenty more choice words than that to describe the latest round of FIFA double standards.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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