Fri, Sep 04, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Chelsea banned from registering any new players

AP , ZURICH

FIFA yesterday banned Chelsea from signing any players for the next year because it encouraged a French player to break his contract and sign for the club.

The governing body of world soccer said Chelsea can’t register any new players, from England or abroad, during the next two transfer windows — in January and the next offseason. The next time the team would be able to sign a new player would be in January 2011.

FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) made the ruling after Lens complained that Chelsea lured teenage striker Gael Kakuta to break his contract with the French club and move to London last year.

“The DRC found that the player had indeed breach[ed] a contract signed with the French club,” FIFA said in a statement. “Equally, the DRC deemed it to be established that the English club induced the player to such breach. Chelsea is banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for the two next entire and consecutive registration periods following the notification of the present decision.”

The dispute panel also banned Kakuta, an 18-year-old France youth international, from playing any matches worldwide for four months.

It ordered Kakuta and Chelsea to pay Lens 780,000 euros (US$1.12 million) in compensation. Chelsea must pay Lens a further 130,000 euro as a training fee.

Chelsea can appeal the decision directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

FIFA has recently worked to impress on clubs and players that contracts must be respected, and Chelsea is not the first club that the governing body has tried to ban from making transfer deals.

Swiss club FC Sion was told in April it could not sign players until the 2010 offseason as punishment for its actions in luring Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary last year before his deal with Al-Ahly had expired.

Like Kakuta, El Hadary received a four-month ban from playing.

However, Sion appealed to the CAS, which froze the sanctions while it considers the case, allowing the club to trade before the current season began. A ruling is expected later this year.

Chelsea was recently involved in a landmark case with FIFA’s disputes chamber. It was that panel which originally awarded the English club 17.2 million euros in compensation against former striker Adrian Mutu.

Chelsea fired the Romania international in 2004 after he tested positive for cocaine and asked FIFA for damages to recover the player’s transfer value.

The compensation award was confirmed in July after the CAS rejected Mutu’s appeal.

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