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Kakutagate – Fact and Fiction

527419671 1b4e33f67e Kakutagate   Fact and Fiction

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…

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5 Responses to Kakutagate – Fact and Fiction

  1. Adam Mikhail says:

    You should add that Kakuta did not have a professional contract with Lens. He had a no-solicitation agreement.

  2. Darren says:

    It will be interesting to see how FIFA/UEFA will follow up on these 2 bans in the future. If they can become consistent in enforcing these bans so that clubs and players alike can know what to expect, then we will all look back at this week and it will be regarded as time of positive change in football. I imagine it will be difficult for them to continuelly enforce these bans consistently, but I hope they will manage to.

  3. ish says:

    kakuta was 15 he didnt have a pro contract. It was a no solicitation agreement, supposedly. It also took them 2 whole years before they filed a complaint. In terms of precident the FC Sion that GK was under a pro contract, so its not really a precident.

    This really only affects english clubs because english clubs can let players sign pro agreements earlier then many countries. It wont hold but honestly its a dangerous thing to be waking up the lions den that is the english FA. If FIFA starts targetting english clubs while the blinkers are on for the continental clubs than the FA could seriously cause damage to the CL. If all the english clubs leave the CL an EL that will be massive loss of money and prestige for the CL. The CL is popular partly because the EPL is so popular. Sure it will still be watched but in asia and english speaking countries many people watch the CL just for english clubs.

    • Darren says:

      There is absolutely no way English clubs will leave playing in Europe. The amount of cash they receive for playing there is huge, and they will never turn that down. To think otherwise is incrediably naive.

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