Chelsea have begun the fight against their worldwide transfer ban by appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and requesting a suspension of the punishment.
The west London club were last month banned from registering any players until January 2011 over the signing of Gael Kakuta from RC Lens in 2007. They have always strongly denied any wrongdoing and insisted they would fight the ban all the way.
Kakuta, who was also banned from playing for four months, is appealing against FIFA's punishment too.
The timing of the appeal means it is very likely that the Premier League club will be able to sign players in the January transfer window. It typically takes a minimum of three months for the CAS to hear a case, during which time any punishment is usually lifted.
It would be exceptional for the CAS to be able to hear the case before Christmas, which means Chelsea could face a scramble for new players before any appeal is actually heard. It means they are likely to face paying a premium for any players they target.
Chelsea will discover early next month whether their request for a suspension of the punishment has been successful.
A statement on the official CAS website read: ''Chelsea Football Club and Gael Kakuta have filed appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the decision issued by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber on 27 August 2009.
''Both Chelsea FC and Kakuta have requested that the FIFA decision be stayed pending the outcome of the CAS arbitration. A decision concerning the request for a stay is likely to be issued by the CAS at the beginning of November.''
Chelsea have so far declined to comment.