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Chelsea will suffer if transfer ban stands

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Phil McNulty | 15:39 UK time, Thursday, 3 September 2009

Gael Kakuta was a name that barely registered on Chelsea's radar - let alone world football's - until he became the central figure in a landmark Fifa decision that could shape the short-term future at Stamford Bridge.

The 18-year-old winger, who the world governing body has adjudged was induced to breach a contract with Lens to join Chelsea in 2007, is regarded as a promising but hardly indispensable part of coach Carlo Ancelotti's plans.

Swift and with natural goalscoring flair, Kakuta was the Chelsea Academy scholar of the year in 2008, but his recent story has been a series of injuries that have stalled his progress.

He will now be sidelined for another four months as part of Fifa's wide-ranging punishment for his alleged poaching from Lens - most notably a ban on Chelsea signing any new players until January 2011.

Chelsea's rivals will see this as a chink in what has been impregnable armour so far this season, and this stranglehold on Ancelotti's transfer plans will provide a most unwelcome handicap as he fashions a new era at Stamford Bridge.

Even if Chelsea get the ban reduced with what they say will be "the strongest appeal possible" to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, a distinct possibilty, at the very least they are likely to spend the rest of this season with everything crossed in the hope that injuries and suspensions can be avoided.

gael595.jpgKakuta has yet to feature for Chelsea's first team

The January transfer window is traditionally a less than hectic time at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have suggested in the past that, unless circumstances are exceptional, the calibre of players they require are not on the market in the shorter window because they are usually ineligible for the Champions League or clubs are unwilling sellers.

This January might be different if they fail to win an appeal, because of a twist of timing in football's packed calendar that leaves Chelsea, to some extent, at the mercy of the gods.

Chelsea are likely to lose Michael Essien, Salomon Kalou, Jon Mikel Obi and, arguably most crucially of all, Didier Drogba to the African Cup of Nations when it gets under way in Angola in early January.

This a blow big enough in itself. Now Ancelotti must hope further strain is not put on his resources when the season enters this crucial phase. The power of owner Roman Abramovich's chequebook has always been an important safety net in emergencies, now it is on the point of being pulled away from under Chelsea's coach by forces beyond his control.

Ancelotti's further concern, after a relatively low-key summer of activity in the transfer market, is that Chelsea's squad may be experienced but it will undoubtedly need freshening up during the period when the ban on transfers is scheduled to be imposed.

Chelsea are hardly a "Dad's Army" outfit, but they are not exactly youthful and light on their feet either. Young bloods are in short supply. Captain John Terry has a history of injuries in recent times and plenty of the squad are nearer the end of their careers than the start.

There is security in the long-term contracts signed by Terry and Ashley Cole, but Ancelotti will want to marshal everything at his disposal, including a transfer fund, throughout the course of a taxing season.

Of course what Chelsea have, and what Fifa can never take away, is an in-built resilience from the days of Jose Mourinho

And a punishment of this sort is only likely to stiffen a siege mentality as they go in search of their first Champions League, the Holy Grail, and also try to reclaim the Premier League title that has resided at Old Trafford for the past three seasons.

If Chelsea, as Fifa has ruled, induced Kakuta to leave the club that nurtured him, then it must be regarded as a laudible, landmark move to punish them.

Chelsea will now plead their case vehemently, but as a general principle any move to protect clubs from having young talent they have invested time, money and resources in spirited away without at least fitting financial compensation is to be applauded.

It may also mean in future that smaller clubs will feel on a firmer footing when standing up to the richer rivals ready to prey on their production line of talent.

Sympathy for Chelsea (of course the very words are likely to induce roars of laughter from around the community of Premier League supporters) may come with the hope that Fifa's net will claim more than just them.

If Fifa actually believes Chelsea are the only club guilty of this particular offence in world football, then naivety is being stretched to its furthest point. Are we to seriously believe that? I do not. This is a can of worms that has yet to be fully opened.

For now, however, Fifa has embarrassed Chelsea by putting them in the dock. And even if they are successful in wiping out a portion of the punishment, it still stands a blow to their chances of success this season.

Fifa's ruling might save Abramovich a few roubles on transfers - it might even get Kakuta a few games in the first team - but what will it cost when it comes to counting silverware? Chelsea must hope an investment in a promising, but unproven, youngster does not prove too expensive.

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  • Comment number 1.

    If this ban is upheld, then it would most certainly affect Chelsea. Chelsea's current squad is ageing and they have not been as good as some of their major rivals in terms of bringing up talent through the ranks. Aside from JT, I can't think of anybody else in the Chelsea first team who has come through the ranks.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good article. Bound to happen now to more teams and not just end at Chelsea.

  • Comment number 3.

    Im a Chelsea fan, i believe if we could get the ban down to just a january transfer window ban we will be fine.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm a football supporter first, and a Chelsea supporter second. As much as this will damage our next two seasons, it's a just punishment and if it results in greater transparency in football as a whole, then there is no argument to be had. I do agree that clubs have been doing this for years, but I would be the biggest hypocrite of the bunch to protest this ruling because my own club are involved. Kudos to Fifa - perhaps this might knock some sense into not only ourselves, but the rest of football's ruling elite.

  • Comment number 5.

    Another good blog Phil. Liverpool supporter and football fan here. Bad news for Chelsea for sure. It could be a co-incidence but what with the UEFA ruling against Arsenal and this ruling from FIFA it does seem like these two footall associations have it in for English clubs. I mean come on, we've all seen far worse dives than the 'alleged' Eduardo dive. And we all know that Chelsea aren't the only club to have 'induced' a player to break their contract.

  • Comment number 6.

    In what way is this judgement landmark? Has Phil not heard of the almost identical judgements against FC Sion of Switzerland (April 2009), or against Roma (2005)?

    For info, Roma appealed the judgement to the CAS and the two transfer window ban was reduced to one transfer window. I'd be surprised if Chelsea don't secure a similar outcome at the very least.

    Come on Phil, shouldn't you know about this sort of stuff?

  • Comment number 7.

    "arguably most crucially of all, Didier Drogba"

    I may agree with your statement, but currently not the grammar! ;)

    good blog though.

  • Comment number 8.

    Even if Chelsea do lose the appeal, I can't see this affecting them too badly. Yes, they'll lose a few to the African CoN but how many players were they ever going to sign in January? As for next Summer, Phil you make a good point that the players aren't all spring chickens - but I feel the squad is strong enough - and young enough - to last the next couple of years without any fresh blood (provided they arent too unlucky with injuries).

  • Comment number 9.

    Chelsea are not the first club that have been punished for this type of offence. Two previous clubs, Roma and a Swiss club whose name escapes me have previously been banned from buying players for two transfer windows for being in breach of FIFA rules on player transfers.

  • Comment number 10.

    My own question as a Colchester fan, is what happens when another club clearly taps up you manager, and induces him to break his contract.

  • Comment number 11.

    It is a can of worms that is going to cause a lot of mess when it's opened. But good, that's how it should be. All the big clubs have always behaved like this, and it's high time that they were punished for it.

    If anything, Chelsea's punishment should have been harsher. And congratulations to FIFA for understanding that punishments shouldn't be financial, because they mean nothing to the big clubs. Hit them really where it hurts: stop them signing players and boot them out of the Champions League.

  • Comment number 12.

    If they did indeed do as is said, then the ban is a fitting punishment. I suspect that they'll get it reduced by an appeal.

    Regardless, as things stand it's certainly a blow to their prospects this season. That said, they look quite strong (we'll know how strong when they're properly tested a few times), and I still fancy them for the league.

  • Comment number 13.

    what a strange decision. I guess as Phil suggests this is only scratching the surface.
    Does FIFA rule by precedent or do they just make laws up and hope for the best?

    Please, please make Kenyon liable in this situation and suffer a similar fate to Dean Richards and is hung out to dry...

  • Comment number 14.

    I seriously doubt that any of Abramovich's wealth is currently held in roubles!

  • Comment number 15.

    The important thing now is that FIFA need to be consistent and punish any other club that does this in the same way. FIFA (for once) should be applauded for taking decisive action.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Why fifa apply such a harsh decision on chelsea & quite at that time.
    yes , chelsea make a terrible mistake in this case but we all know that its not the 1st club to do that & wont be the last.
    i believe there a bit things inside this case that we cannot understand
    its about the so called relationships between chelsea fc , the fifa and whole the EPL.
    maybe the huge sucess in the EPL in the last few years ,had this impact finally...

  • Comment number 18.

    Chelsea will challenge this decision and may very well get the punishment reduced. Sepp Blatter has openly said in the past that he wants clubs punished for this type of activity, but he is more interested in 'points' deducted rather than financial constraints. I wonder what will happen if Chelsea have the punishment reduced and have points docked - I wonder if FIFA can impose this punishment in the Premier League ........ I think its more than a just a can of worms being opened !

  • Comment number 19.

    Mad rulin to be honest and cant see it being upheld, although I can see the reason for the ban. Man U fan and we have been criticised in the past for similar.

  • Comment number 20.

    Anyone else think that since the Eduardo incident we're about to see FIFA actually do some police work?

    But if another English club is made an example of . . .

  • Comment number 21.

    Phil don't you think they should also crackdown on these official agreements some clubs sign to become feeder clubs

  • Comment number 22.

    Whilst the ban doesn't help Chelsea's cause, I cannot see it causing much hinderance either. In recent years they have not been very active in the transfer windows, adding only a few youngsters or just one key player. They already have a strong enough squad to cope for the season. One thing that could hurt them though would be one of their key players wanting to leave next summer and not being able to replace them.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think this is getting a bit silly now, 1st Eduardo gets banned and now Kakuta, at this rate there will soon be no players left!!

    I can maybe understand the fine, but why should the player get banned? All he has done wrong is sign for Chelsea.

    Also what about all the other clubs who sign these youngsters, I fear for my own club Arsenal as we make a lot of young signings.

    Surely the players are being offered a better style of life and a better opportunity to develop as a player

  • Comment number 24.

    Maybe not such a major blow. Current squad is huge, good reserves and amongst the players out on loan are Michael Mancienne and Scott Sinclair... time for them to step up, if the ban is upheld.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    I hate the argument that because someone else got away with it you should as well.

    Didn't something similar happen with Roma over Mexes

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    I am not a chelsea fan and i am not going to comment on the fairness of this punishment BUT i think Chelsea have the wherewithal to dig deep into their reserves to minimize the effect of this.

  • Comment number 29.

    I mean come on, we've all seen far worse dives than the 'alleged' Eduardo dive.

    say eboues on Evra?

    Good blog though
    mixed feelings on the subject though

  • Comment number 30.

    This series of events does seem like a target on The EPL. As a chelsea fan I'm gutted, but can understand the reasoning for the ruling. However we all know other clubs- both in England and abroad have done the same thing, and I hope the same punishment is extended throughout the leagues- not just England.
    The same goes for the Eduardo ban- UEFA need to ensure the same happens to other players who 'dive' from now on. But the ban does not seem in keeping with the on-pitch punishment of a yellow card!! Surely Eduardo should only have been given a retrospective yello and not a ban.
    It will be interesting to see what happens to clubs outside England- whether or not similar punishments are meted out equally!!

  • Comment number 31.

    I am genuinely excited as a chelsea fan looking at this punishment.

    it will help us keep onto our squad, as there is no chance of bringing anyone new in.

    its will increase the chances of english players blooding in:

    we have 3 players currently on loan in the premier league, an incredible statistic:

    which other team has 3 premier league quality under 21s that would make the first team?!

    while a very serious injury crisis around January might hurt us, i don't see it happening as the entire squad is unbelievably fit due to lotti's training regime.

    chelsea will still win the title this year and next.

    who wants to pay inflated prices anyway? if it were to happen, now is idea.

  • Comment number 32.

    The fact that other clubs may or may not be guilty of a similar offence is beside the point. Imagine if all the players who regularly dive to achieve an unfair advantage were given a similar penalty to Eduardo's. If the football authorities believe that a particular offence must be stamped out they should hand out severe penalties and above all be consistent. The clubs would soon toe the line. But I am not holding my breath. Both FIFA and UEFA are highly selective when it comes to penalising clubs and/or players. The result, presumably of internal politics.

  • Comment number 33.

    Just about all of the big clubs do this in the Premier League, or something very similar. Chelsea have been involved, when they stole Mikel Jon Obi away from Manchester United...they should have learnt a bit of a lesson from that. But none of the big 4 are blameless when it comes to devising new ways of getting young foreign talent into their clubs. I'm just surprised it took this long for FIFA to take action on it.

  • Comment number 34.

    As much as this ban upsets me it agreives me more that we are guilty. Whilst the ban is out of context and a complete victimisation, we were guilty of the offence. What makes our clubs hierachy think they can go around poaching players. We had no right at all to Gael Kakuta and, like on many previous occasions, we used our infinte resources to illeagally and underhandly secure a young player. Our appeal should be based on the fact that the punishment is over the top, not that it goes on everywhere else.
    Just because everyone does it, does not make it legal. Naivity has nothing to do with it Phil, FIFA are making a stand on a practise that is illegal, unfair and underhand. It is just Chelsea's bad luck it started here.
    Chelsea's attitude towards other clubs players stinks, we have no regard or respect for the club or its representetives. It is about time this was stamped out because contracts are becoming worthless. Pursuits of contracted players like Lescott and Ronaldo need to be stopped too, because a players has so much power all a club has to do now, is declare and interest and then their contract is useless.

    Having said that the punsihment smells highly of Platini's anti British brigade. You cannot hand out such tough and stringent punishments without declaring them first. Chelsea have been caught out but punished with huge inaccuracy and can rightly feel victimised.

    We deserve a punishment as do every club who is gulity of this, but just like Eduardo's dive, you cannot punish a player or a club so harshly without letting the world know these measures exist, it simply isnt fair.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    The ban won't really affect this season as Chelsea never shop in the January window, and it might even mean that some of the legion of young players out on loan are recalled to cover the African Nations Cup. However a ban covering next summer would be a disaster for 2010/11.

    The problem with any appeal is that Chelsea have got a lot of 'form' in this area. This might have happened a few years ago when Chelsea aquired a few young players from Leeds and only a lot of cash persuaded Ken Bates to back down. Frank Arneson has been trawling Europe to poach young players so if this judgement is upheld I hope he and Peter Kenyon are punished by the Chelsea board.

    I personally would like to see a blanket ban on movements of under 18s who are registered as part of a club academy scheme but I suspect this will be a problem under European law.

  • Comment number 37.

    Hmm, what about all the Man Utd signings that have been pursued through the press over the years, too many to name. Is this another agent problem in reality? it seems to me that the agents spend a lot of time to get their players moved from club to club to generate income for themselves. I think the whole system needs a look at especially the restrictive trading practice of the windows.

  • Comment number 38.

    Let's be honest, this isn't about one teenager. Chelsea have been warned about tapping up one-too-many times and this latest case was probably the last straw for FIFA. Saying that, I hope other big clubs (even the ones I like) get the same comeuppance, because the transfer market needs disciplining.

    On a separate note, this could be a blessing in disguise for Chelsea - they can break even sooner AND give their youth academy a chance to prove itself.

  • Comment number 39.

    So how long will it take the Sheffield United lawyers to start demanding compensation from Chelsea?

  • Comment number 40.

    I agree with the way this has been handled. The only punishment open to FIFA, UEFA, FA etc now for the top clubs is no longer fine them its punishments like this. The same goes for players don't fine them anymore just suspend them.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm not a Chelsea fan but I think there is no way this ban will happen.

    Chelsea will appeal and my guess is that maybe they'll be banned from buying plays in January 2010 but not next summers window. These sort of punishments never stick, remember Tottenham when they were thrown out the cup? Or Juventus when they were docked 30 points? The authorities always bottle it, so I wouldn't be too worried Chelsea fans.

  • Comment number 42.

    "If Chelsea, as Fifa has ruled, induced Kakuta to leave the club that nurtured him, then it must be regarded as a laudible, landmark move to punish them."

    If? What if? The world governing body has ruled that they have!

    Pulling you up on your painful attempts to cover your back aside, this is a wonderful ruling not only for clubs in the PL (especially my own - now if only Man Utd can get a two year ban on dodgy penalty decisions and comedy extra time!) but also for football in general if it is actually upheld.

    With the extreme amounts of money now available to certain clubs in Europe especially, the days of paltry (in real terms) fines should now be dead and buried as they mean absolutely nothing to clubs such as Chelsea who have spent years running roughshod over the rules of the game, safe in the knowledge that the worst punishment they'll receive is the cost of one player's weekly wage, if that.

    Perhaps Man City should be now targeted after their appalling public pursuit of Lescott, or Real following their media-based courting of Alonso?

    In reality, of course, we all know it will be mainly the top English clubs which will be hunted like dogs.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm a liverpool fan through and through. I think there will be more cases like this in the EPL but if the ban goes ahead until 2011; the team chelsea should gel very well and with the players despite their age, should be a very good team.

  • Comment number 45.

    To suggest that this is in some way anti english is both xenophobic and pathetic

    Chelsea broke the rules, the evidence has been submitted and they have been found guilty. Well done FIFA you are certainly the custodians of the beautiful game and platini has been an excellent appointment

    Phil's glib point that other teams are guilty as well then submit the evidence and try them and let them take their punishment

  • Comment number 46.

    i dont think this is too bad for chelsea. they have a big squad, probably the best squad man for man in the premiership. their problem has always been man management after jose left.

    this would be a bigger problem for someone like rafael benitez. just look at his spending policies.

    but chelsea have nothing big to worry about. theyve done the spending they need in the last 5 years. they can use their good academy to find good players if need be. london always produces good footballers, just look at west ham's academy.

  • Comment number 47.

    "... They contacted the player when he wasn't even 16 and while he had been contracted to our training group from the age of eight."

    It seems very strange to me that an EIGHT year old can be contracted to anyone at all!

    Also, if the quotes are accurate, then the use of the words "the English club" and "the French club" instead of "Chelsea" and "Lens" is going to give the conspiracy-theorists even more ammunition.

  • Comment number 48.

    Although the two previous teams to suffer this punishment managed to get the ban reduced, I'm not sure that Chelsea should be confident of achieving the same. They do, after all, have 'previous' in this area unlike Sion and Roma. See for example Ashley Cole and the John Obi Mikel fiasco.

  • Comment number 49.

    I don't know, but this seems like an excuse to punish an English club, it wasnt even the current manager that wanted him. FIFA and UEFA seem to have it in for english clubs. Its been happening since the champions legaue semis.

  • Comment number 50.

    It strikes me as a bit of posturing. Of course the conspiracy theorists can come from two camps, one being the 'anti-english' side, where FIFA and UEFA both seem to believe that the premier league is damaging to football in other countries, the other being the 'anti-chelsea' side, much remark could be made about the appalling refereeing of last season in the Champions League.

    It's completely disproportionate, and of course Chelsea will successfully appeal. I fail to understand why FIFA has gone ahead with it in this heavy handed way, given that previous attempts to do the same with other clubs have not been successful as yet.

    A ridiculous handicap, for an important, but nonetheless minor alleged crime.

    I genuinely don't see this standing up anytime soon, it's just FIFA trying to dictate and put themselves in the driving seat by making an example of one of the more powerful and successful english football clubs.

  • Comment number 51.

    RE: Post No. 23

    There is no point in fining a team of Chelsea's wealthiness because it simply wouldn't affect them - unless we were talking silly, astronomical amounts. The only way to hit them is with a transfer ban, however harsh it may seem.

    The player has been banned as he has breached the contract he had in place with his former employers.

  • Comment number 52.

    my view is that it is a little unfair for chelsea.

    good players will never stay at small clubs. and when big clubs come and take talented kids, it shouldnt be a suprise. then again chelsea arent exactly a 'big' club, they are a standard premier leauge club with huge huge external financial injection, just like man city. as a company they are barely surviving, no profit...their accounts look aweful, but that doesnt matter because their losses are being serviced by a rich owner.

    so again il say, it wont affect them too much, but if players decide to leave then they wont be able to be replaced. and the point about chelsea's players in their 30's, you really think that after 1 year, these players wont be able to move? health and fitness levels are excellent in this generation, ask ryan giggs, he will tell you...infact when chelsea came to old trafford last season, giggs was probably the oldest player on the pitch (after van der sar) and was the best player on the pitch that day. also ask zidane, who was on top of his game until the very last game on his career.

  • Comment number 53.

    "If Fifa actually believes Chelsea are the only club guilty of this particular offence in world football, then naivety is being stretched to its furthest point."
    Did you actually read the article? Quite clearly Fifa does not believe that Chelsea is (not "Chelsea are" by the way) the only club guilty of this particular offence in world football because in April it punished Switzerland's FC Sion for a similar offence.
    Just as in the Eduardo diving case the "everybody does it" defence is being deployed.
    If this kind of behaviour is to be stamped out, someone has to be the first to be punished.
    There was a time when murderers went unpunished; following your logic they still would.

  • Comment number 54.

    I'm amazed nobody else has yet mentioned that Chelsea have previous with this kind of thing in regards to the tapping up of Ashley Cole from Arsenal. The article I have linked to mentions a suspended three point reduction. Why has nobody in the media commented on this? Has the suspended sentence expired? If not then I don't understand why it hasn't even been alluded to with this story.

    Maybe if Chelsea hadn't been caught doing this kind of thing in the past I, and many others, would think that this is a harsh punishment. As it is I think they have got what they deserve.

  • Comment number 55.

    It's about time FIFA started to clean the game up, and if that means upsetting the high and mighty in the premiership then so be it. The top clubs have got away with alsorts over the years, mainly because our FA are to scared of the clubs. Obviously FIFA have got fed up of it and are now throwing their weight about.
    They started with the Eduardo diving incident and now the Chelsea tapping up affair. Yes clubs have tapped up players for years and got away with it but now is the time to show the clubs who is boss and make it a level playing field for all.
    Hopefully the next step for FIFA will be to investigate the EPL teams finances, to make sure everything is in order. Obviously with the news today that Portsmouth were on the verge of going under must surely ring alarm bells throughout our game.

  • Comment number 56.

    Maybe Chelsea can turn to their youth sys.., oh yeah they didn't bother with one

  • Comment number 57.

    Man, people should really just read a little before commenting and looking silly (this includes you Phil as this is in no way a landmark ruling as both FC Sion and Roma have been handed the same bans - landmark because it is an English team? Look beyond one's own shores).

    Some clarity.

    1. This is not a case of tapping-up so all those calling for FC this or United that to be next because you didn't like the way your club transfered a player just chill. Real Madrid are unlikely to be the next club banned so get over it.

    2. This is a FIFA decision so nothing to do with Platini!

    3. FIFA did not choose to target Chelsea. Chelsea broke the rules, the victim club brought a case against them to FIFA. FIFA can do nothing without that complaint.

    4. The fact that other clubs may have gotten away with this means nothing. I can't kill somebody and claim I should be set free because OJ got away with it. If you get caught, you get caught.

    5. There is no link between the Eduardo ban (UEFA) and this one (FIFA). These are different organizations. It is nothing more than coincidence that they are both English clubs (though one is Russian owned and the other doesn't really play English players).

    5bis. While on the subject of Eduardo's ban, (off topic - if only!) it doesn't matter who dives or how many times in the Premier League without being punished. This is not inconsistency. Again (see #5) different organizations - UEFA cannot ban a player for diving in a domestic game - they have no jurisdiction.

    6. Chelsea supporters claiming everyone's out to get you because of your money stop being paranoid. Though there is something to be said for a club with almost unlimited spending powers being held to high standards. You can pay whatever you want but still do one to a small club over a teenager. Remember, with great power comes great responsability. You abuse the power, you should be punished heavily.

    7. Let's hope this is the start of FIFA and UEFA getting serious about problems in the game (diving/cheating and plundering of youth are serious problems). If Eduardo is the only player to get banned for diving in the Champions League or Europe Cup (remember, only look at UEFA comps - the FA wall always play only lip service to these issues) then I'll join the Arsene Wenger witch hunt posse (highly unlikely).

    Sorry that was so long. I'll go now (as I won't see my comment for ages anyway).

  • Comment number 58.

    Missed a few

    8. The ban is not 'over the top'. It is really the only way to properly punish clubs for this behaviour as fining clubs with billions of pounds really does nothing. Plus, this is not a brand new ban FIFA have just made up for Chelsea. As noted, two other clubs have been handed two window bans and Chelsea were even warned of the sanction in 2007 when they started sniffing around the player.

    9. It may be reduced but on appeal but certainly not before January. Chelsea will likely be unable to sign new players next summer (the World Cup window) - certainly a more severe punishment than missing out on the January window though a lot of duds get bought in a World Cup year - could be saving themselves buying another Sheva!

  • Comment number 59.

    Surely the point about "Chelsea not being the only club to do this" is irrelevant?..a charge was made, and Chelsea were found guilty..just like in the Ashley Cole affair. Are we saying that Chelsea simply aren't as good as the other clubs at getting away with this stuff?!. If this is going on all the time..where are the charges from the "poorer" clubs?

    If anything, this is good news for football as it shows that smaller clubs don't have to be bullied by bigger clubs providing they have the guts to bring charges and provide the necessary evidence.

  • Comment number 60.

    It's not that Fifa are being naieve 'by thinking Chelsea are the only club guilty of such an offence in world football' they are simply clamping down on it to ensure what little integrity is left in top flight football remains intact. Similarly they cannot be so naieve so as to think Eduardo is the only player that has dived in a game. Drogba has on many an occasion; a Chelsea player yet never officially punished. The fact is it is not a direct response to Chelsea or this particular case but to the unsporting nature of pilfering smaller clubs promising talent. Perhaps both these incidents are actual evidence that FIFA are going to try to clean up the reputation of a game that is in danger of becoming too far detached from its ideals.

  • Comment number 61.

    Sympathy for Chelsea (of course the very words are likely to induce roars of laughter from around the community of Premier League supporters)

    That made me laugh lol :)

  • Comment number 62.

    Didn't real madrid do this to get their iconic Raul and Ramos??

  • Comment number 63.

    Ahhhhh yes, the "everybody does it" defense.

  • Comment number 64.

    Chelsea's team is ageing rapidly, that means next year they wont be able to buy any new young players. They will fall behind and old players will retire or simply move on because of Chelsea's position in the league. I still believe they have a huge chance of winning this years league and even next years. I dont think they were planning to buy in January so that doesnt matter, and they only signed one player this year, so they should be ok.

  • Comment number 65.

    Good balanced blog. Few thoughts as a Chelsea fan.

    Agree that we have certain resilience that will stand is reasonable stead but I hope the club uses this as an opportunity to really give players like Sinclair, Mancienne and Di Santo their chance in the team so that we are not reliant on transfers in to replace an ageing squad.

    Certainly think that the big English clubs are being made an example of - of course Eduardo's wasn't the first/worst dive and no-one thinks that Chelsea are the only club inappropriately raiding smaller clubs for talent. It's just so inconsistent - why wasn't golden boy Messi charged for his head butt in the super cup??

    But the worst thing is the timing. They've announced the transfer ban on Chelsea 2 days after the window closes rather than a month before say - just seems cheeky and immature like most of UEFA/FIFA decisions.

  • Comment number 66.

    Italian clubs cannot offer 16-17 year olds contracts for a reason i am yet to figure out, so utd have now signed around 3 players before the italian club could offer them a contract when they turned 18.

    This is legal, and is in no way near the kind of illegality of the Kakuta case!

    When italian clubs moan about this, they dont moan about the other club, they moan about the law!

  • Comment number 67.

    Lots of suggestions that the Premier League is being targeted by governing bodies after the Eduardo "dive" affair - and no, I still don't think he dived. Eduardo's right leg was touched by Artur Boruc.

    Time will tell if this is true. As with Uefa and Eduardo, I hope Fifa pursue every accusation of inducement. If Arsene Wenger is worried about Eduardo being singled out, then Chelsea may want to ensure the same is not happening to them.

  • Comment number 68.

    Could this me a last hurrah for Peter Kenyon???... This is gross mis-management? I'd certainly have zero confidence in a guy who leads his employer into such a precarious scenario

  • Comment number 69.

    I seem to remember Man Utd being accused by various european teams of tapping up their young players. Will FIFA have the guts to challenge them with the same ferocity that they have done with Chelsea?

    As for the Eduardo affair: If the Arsenal player is banned for diving, where does that leave Rooney after he was clearly shown to be going to ground long before Almunia made any contact with him.

    Methinks Man Utd will escape all punishment yet again.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    West Ham fan here

    If Chelsea did it, fair play to FIFA for nailing them, likewise Eduardo being nailed for what he was supposed to have done.

    Now, the problem is, we will all have to wait for the next club and player in line to suffer the punishments.

    Is this a case of the football authorities clamping down on wrongdoers or is it a case of the authorities saying 'we are still here and pay attention to us'

    All fans, players, and people connected with football can only see this as a good thing IF it is applied without fear or favour.

    Logically, if FIFA are really interested in preventing 'poaching' then they will have to 'do' Man U, Inter Milan, Barca, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich etc etc the list will be well populated by Europe's biggest clubs

    However, if this is just a 'we have to do something to earn our money' episode then the excrement will hit the revolving wind-distributing device.

    Given FIFA and UEFA's track record in 'cracking down', I personally wouldn't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 72.

    If Fifa actually believes Chelsea are the only club guilty of this particular offence in world football, then naivety is being stretched to its furthest point. Are we to seriously believe that? I do not. This is a can of worms that has yet to be fully opened.


    First of all that's completely untrue. Your own organisation's website just stated that FC Sion were punished similarly for a similar offense back in April. You do actually read the sports section of the website you work for, don't you Phil?

    Secondly, even if it was true then the "Everyone else is stealing cars Gov, don't punish me just because I got caught" defense doesn't really wash does it? If it did *any* club could plead exactly the same thing as soon as they were caught - having rules about these things would be pointless.

    Chelsea took away Lens' best young prospect illegally and denied them both of (by all accounts) a great young player and ultimately a large transfer fee. They broke the rules, they got caught and no kind of direct financial penalty is going to dissuade them or any other big club from doing the same thing in the future.

    The only way to actually punish them is where they've broken the rules - in the transfer market. I applaud the decision but fear that it will be overturned and we will return to big clubs breaking the rules and getting away with just a fine - they can see it as a business expense that the likes of Roman can just write out a cheque for.

    Fifa have to start punishing clubs effectively, otherwise the big clubs will just walk all over them and football in general.

  • Comment number 73.

    FIFA and UEFA have it in for English clubs? The same ban that was earned by Eduardo's dive was handed to a Lithuanian player called Mikoliunas for diving against Scotland. He played for Hearts at the time so there is no evidence there of a witch hunt against English clubs.

    Maybe if they learned not to cheat, there would be no action needed by FIFA and UEFA. Phil is right about other clubs offending. One candidate might be further north in England.

    What with this and the blood letting at Harlequins, it's not a good time for the reputation of English sport.

  • Comment number 74.

    Phil says ...and no, I still don't think he dived. Eduardo's right leg was touched by Artur Boruc.
    Come on Phil, and what would have Eduardo have done if he hadn't been 'touched'?
    Play a one-two off the advertising boards, shouted 'rebounds' and gone on to score?
    He purposely played the ball forward (and out of play) awaiting the impact that never came ... as did Rooney but the impact came.

  • Comment number 75.


    Great name - sad incident.


    Phil - if Eduardo didn't dive, neither does Tom Daley!

  • Comment number 76.

    "If Fifa actually believes Chelsea are the only club guilty of this particular offence in world football, then naivety is being stretched to its furthest point."
    If Phil McNulty believes that sentence is English, then literacy is being stretched to its furthest point.

  • Comment number 77.

    Chelsea should be docked points. When Luton made serious errors of judgement in the transfer market we were duly punished. Whats the difference between us and Chelsea?... The FA are scared of Chelsea.

  • Comment number 78.

    Let's get this into perspective, though.

    This will be a minor irritant to Chelsea, as it would for all of the top 4 clubs in England and top two in Spain - the biggest culprits.

    It's a symptom of a greater malaise in the game, which is the eye-watering amounts of cash/credit available to the major players in European football and the devil-may-care attitude most of these clubs (with the exception of a couple, at most) have with their position at the top table of the biggest sport on the planet.

    FIFA/UEFA seem to have absolutely no idea how to eradicate the disease - and it IS a disease - of the world's billionaires either plundering our game of its resources or using it as a toy; either way it's pretty much destroyed football in this country to the point that, perversely, the only excitement which now exists is who's going to be relegated or which club is going to go to the wall.

    I'm amazed, for instance, that there's been no comment on how close Portsmouth came to being destroyed.

    But then again, there's certain people in the game who seem to be untouchable, isn't there - those 'types' who have their own columns in the red-tops, who're always there with the ready comment when the camera is on them, those who make great headlines on transfer deadline day when they've just raided their last club of its assets.

    We can't say a word about those lads, can we...

  • Comment number 79.


    You addressed all the points I was about to raise, particularly with regard to this NOT being another 'tapping-up' case. When players are tapped-up, the selling club may feel, rightly, aggrieved - but at least they receive a transfer fee. In this case, Chelsea induced the player to breach his contract, instead of negotiating (or attempting to) with the player's club. Read the official FIFA release:

  • Comment number 80.

    oh dear, where are the violins..

    everytime an english clubs gets fined, for breaking the rules, its injustice and conspiracy. The article is so naked of facts and evidence its unreal.

    Just one mans opinion regarding the issue, a reporter who obvioulsy has not much clue about football outside of england.

    so was it an english conspiracy when Marseille where punished with relegation because of match fixing? how about juventus being relegated or Milan having points deducted? they broke the rules and got fined, such simple logic a kid should understand.

    and now chelsea went to this teenager who had a contract and said hey join us, you dont want to play for lens, doesnt matter about the contract we are chelsea, we pay you more money. Good on Lens for chasing this illegal transfer. whats the point of contracts if you can just walk away for free before the end of it?

    now stop thinking the world is againts you, stop breaking the rules and guess what, you wont get punished.

  • Comment number 81.

    FIFA and UEFA have taken their time and are now punishing Chelsea in a severe manner, for their crazy spending from a few years ago, and Mourinho questioning the integrity of a referee, i think Fifa/UEFA are settling a few scores with Chelsea and Abramovich. Being a MANU fan it will have a negative effect on Chelsea, which is better for the reds.

  • Comment number 82.

    I think that FIFA really have to look at the rules and decide on the punishments, i.e from the close of the last transfer window if you break rule x,y or z then this will be the punishment - no exceptions, also FIFA and UEFA need to make it clear where they stand on diving - if a player dives during a game do they get a yellow or a red card - will they now get an automatic 2 game ban (whether the referee sees it or not)because technically that is the precedent that has been set.

    I would love to see them do this to stop any team bending the rules then saying 'it's not just us' if you know the punishment and you are caught you then have to accept it.

    Also as a last point stopping clubs signing players, deducting points (through agreement with whatever FA) and banning from European competitions is the only way to deal with serious breaches - fines don't work.

  • Comment number 83.

    And why refer to them as "Angry Chelsea"?

    That's just odd - of course they're angry - they've been caught doing wrong when they thought their vast resources allowed them to do whatever they wish.

    Leave the inclusion of idiot-viewer emotion to ITN.

  • Comment number 84.

    Liverpool fan here. I think this decision, like the eduardo ban is just an excuse for FIFA to flex their muscle and draw attention away from their own shortcomings. I agree that punishments should be in place for both these offences, but why have they just started all of a sudden with no announcement of intent before doing it?
    There have been many other offenders other than Chelsea and if Chelsea are to be punished so should all the others. Same with the diving. If these punishments are going to stand then it HAS to be a precedent, if they dont carry it through on other offenders then it is a gross miscarriage of justice.
    I know many of my fellow 'pool supporters will find this decision amusing and be glad of it but id prefer the Premiership to be as fair as possible, won by the team that deserve it.

  • Comment number 85.

    This maybe a blessing in disguise. Chelsea's top players have already signed long term contracts and that must show loyalty within the club. This will be further strengthened by Chelsea having to promote junior players to replace the Africans when the time comes. These juniors may just surprise everyone. Hopefully this will reduced the "silly season" and convince Roman that there is a lot of talent in England awaiting their chance.

  • Comment number 86.

    Knew the Eduardo view would spark comment. I honestly believe he was touched. I am convinced - only me and Arsene Wenger apparently.

    As for Chelsea, let's hear some views on how a transfer ban might effect them - or had Roman Abramovich cut back on the spending anyway?

    And what do Chelsea fans think of Gael Kakuta?

  • Comment number 87.

    Its about time that Fifa started introducing penalties to clubs who engage in this kind of "tapping up" behaviour, strange that they chose such an unremarkable transfer as its final straw, where were Fifa during Real Madrid's long and questionable pursuit of Ronaldo?

  • Comment number 88.

    Re #31 -- "which other team has 3 premier league quality under 21s that would make the first team?!"

    Jack Rodwell, Jose Baxter, James Vaughan, Dan Gosling, plus James Wallace, John Ruddy.

    And for other countries: Iain Turner, Victor Anichebe plus Shokdran Mustafi.

    All these are first team squad full time. And lets not forget the ones we've sold, like Wayne of course.

    The ban is harsh on Chelsea but will seem ok if it then happens to other clubs, I'd be worried if I was an Arsenal fan right now! Any investigation into the Jon Obi Mikel saga now FIFA?

  • Comment number 89.

    I'd like to see video evidence introduced to help referees make critical decisions and I certainly support retrospective action. Let's start with that non-goal that occurred in 1966.

  • Comment number 90.

    Fantastic decision. Chelsea have been doing this consistently (Cashley Cole anyone). And this issue about UEFA and FIFA having something against English clubs, weren't Roma and FC Scion hit by the same sanction? And to those saying this is a chance for Chelsea's youngsters, well there's an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

  • Comment number 91.

    It shouldn't end with Chelsea, Fifa should increase discipline among the rich clubs.

  • Comment number 92.

    Or villa #31, they have a lot, or Man Utd, they have a lot too - also Burnley, Stoke, Arsenal have 2 or 3 - even Liverpool have a couple!

    To take this Platini/Blatter swipe at English football [which it blatantly is]ad absurdam...It will be a funny champions league final when neither team has a striker who is not suspended for "deceiving a referee" [made up charge], and a funny transfer window when all these hyped up egos like £e$cott and Sol Campbell can only move to a choice of 3 or 4 clubs - maybe they will learn the meaning of humility...

    Also the FA are just as bad, any news on Chester City's -25 yet? If they make up any more reasons for docking points we might as well go to the American system of just counting the wins you have in a season.

  • Comment number 93.

    Ah , here we go it's the latest Platini led attack on the English game. It is no great secret that Platini / Blatter are not too happy with the money swilling around the premiership and the continued presence of our clubs in the CHL final.
    I don't hear much comment about Real Madrid blowing a small countries national deficit on players, I do hear about silly little fines for blatant racism and any footy show from any country around the world will show you a load of play actors at work .... and UEFA/FIFA choose to go after Arsenal and Chelsea...nuff said.

  • Comment number 94.

    Someone has to be the first punished, why not Chelsea?

  • Comment number 95.

    Forgive my ignorance, but is there some law that makes a footballer's contract special?

    Firstly, anyone who works has a right to seek an alternative employer, so long as they fulfill the parts of their contract relevant to its termination - for most people this is the period of notice they have to give before switching employers.

    Secondly, if a contract has been broken, then is it not a legal matter that should be dealt with by the courts?

  • Comment number 96.

    It's good to see Kenyon et al beeing pulled up at last.

  • Comment number 97.

    Have to agree with every point Cousinkev made. If Chelsea are appealing they'll probably have to take it to the CAS which will suspend the ban, which is what has happened with the Swiss club, this could mean some January activity. Either way I still think it's good news for the youngsters. I truly believe we have the strength in depth to deal with this over two seasons. Particularly good point about the world cup window, a lot of duffers get bought at expensive prices because they play the games of their lives at the biggest tournament in the world, maybe a (very) small silver lining in avoiding that.
    All in all, if you break the rules, and there's precedent, you have to accept the punishment.

    PS "With great power comes great responsibility" One of the quotes of the twentieth century, and the best thing Stan Lee ever wrote. Who said comics lack literary prowess?

  • Comment number 98.

    OK. I hope that FIFA goes ahead and bans signing of ALL players under 18, and then passes a ruling that the mother club (or academy) of all players receive 40% of all future transfer fees.

  • Comment number 99.

    Didn't real madrid do this to get their iconic Raul and Ramos??


    No, Real got Raul when city rivals Atletico Madrid decided there was no use in having youth teams any more, so they cancelled the lot, including the one containing a 14 year old Raul.

    As for Sergio Ramos, I believe Real bought him when he was 19 and for over £15 million. There were some underhand tactics involved though, the same as Man City did with Lescott, Man U did with Berbatov, Liverpool with Robbie Keane and so on. It happens everywhere, and I'm not sure you can do anything about that one, because always the word will get to the player somehow to start causing trouble to get a move, and then magically, the bigger club will turn up with an offer.

  • Comment number 100.

    Hopefully they look at Man City's acquisition of Joleon Lescott from Everton next. If there is a more clear cut case of a player being "tapped up" I don't know what it is. It's long past the time that UEFA/FIFA/Premier League properly enforced the rules but better late than never. Football needs to clean up it's act otherwise it will continue to look like the corrupt, greedy, money obsessed sport it has become.


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