In the short time since Chelsea were found guilty of inducing Gael Kakuta to breach his contract at RC Lens, and banned from the registration of new players until 1st Sept 2010 – i.e. two transfer windows away – a lot has been written, blogged, said and alleged – some fact, some fiction. Let’s separate fact from fiction:
“Chelsea have been singled out by UEFA/FIFA”
RC Lens put forward a case to the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, arguing that Gael Kakuta had breached his contract with them to join Chelsea, and that the West London club induced the frenchman to do so. Chelsea weren’t “singled out” by anyone, the DRC can’t accuse a club of any wrong-doing, a case has to be put forward to them. So the DRC is a courtroom where disputes are settled. This isn’t FIFA (it’s definitely not UEFA because Lens didn’t argue to UEFA at all) picking on Chelsea, it’s FIFA, as is their right as football’s governing body, resolving a dispute and charging the defendent who they have found guilty.
“It’s wrong to punish so heavily Chelsea for ‘Tapping Up'”
This isn’t ‘tapping up’. If you tap up a player, you are trying to make it so that he wants to move to your club for a transfer fee or at the end of his contract, what Chelsea have done is – appeal pending – made a player breach his contract and join them for nothing, which is a lamentable exercise, whoever you are. So Chelsea have been made to pay, together with Kakuta, what in effect is a transfer fee – compensation to the tune of €780,000 – and a training fee of €130,000. As Chelsea have been in breach of transfer statutes and regulations, they were punished furthermore in relation to transfer activity. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If my team lost its best player for nothing because he breached his contract I’d be pretty miffed, wouldn’t you?
“Chelsea have been the only club ever to be punished like this”
That’s just not true. The increasingly famous FC Sion of Switzerland were given exactly the same treatment as Chelsea last April because of their illegal acquistion of Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary from Al-Ahly. Since they appealed, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled the bans void until a verdict has been reached. Roma were banned for two transfer windows (reduced to one on appeal) after their role in the transfer of sweeper Philippe Mexes from Auxerre. They were forced to pay 7 million euros in compensation.
As for the “Anti-English Clubs” conspiracy going round, I doubt it. If UEFA and FIFA were really out to get English clubs, they’d make verdicts harsher than those given out previously. If Blatter was really “in on this”, then why would FC Sion – from Blatter’s home country, lest we forget – get the same punishment. No-one is saying that there’s an “Anti-Swiss Clubs” conspiracy, so why for English clubs? As for the Eduardo incident – not strictly relevant, but some fans like a whinge – surely it is better to make a scapegoat now for this incident, and stamp it out with the rest of the season to come, than to do it in April or May with titles and cups at stake. It was a dive – even if he did it out of expectation of a collision, it’s still a poor piece of judgement – and so he was punished in a manner that, while not usual for UEFA, is not uncommon in individual leagues: Inter’s Adriano was given the same ban after winning a penalty against Roma in 2007. So, not totally unprecedented then…