FIFA Gives Chelsea The Blues

By David Hamill

FIFA have stunned the football world by banning Chelsea from buying players until January 2011 for inducing Gael Kakuta to end his contract with Lens in 2007.


Just days after Uefa made an example out of Eduardo for diving, Chelsea have been severely punished for something that apparently happens with equal regularity.


But why now? Why Chelsea? And why on earth fine the 18-year-old French winger, who has yet to make his senior debut, a staggering £682,000 when the club has only been fined a fraction of that?


Unless FIFA make a very compelling case with clear evidence of a serious breach then it will only fuel suggestions that football’s governing bodies, no matter how ridiculous it sounds, are conspiring against Premier League clubs.


Tapping up goes on all the time so Chelsea will feel aggrieved that they have been singled out and the Stamford Bridge club will appeal the decision. It could well be overturned.


The Blues will point at other cases were similar allegations have been made – not so long ago Manchester United were accused by Le Havre of offering huge sums of money to the parents of teenager Paul Pogba to induce him to end his contract with the French club.


United rubbished the claims and insisted everything was done above board, so it will be interesting to see what Chelsea say when they attempt to have a lengthy transfer embargo quashed.


It’s very early days in this case and until more details are revealed about what exactly Chelsea did when they signed Kakuta, it is difficult to judge whether the punishment fits the crime.



Approaching players who are old enough to make up their own mind may be deemed more acceptable but inducing youngsters at the age of 15, 16 or 17 is something that FIFA are committed on clamping down on, if Chelsea’s punishment is anything to go by


Whether it’s simply harboring and developing promising young talent, or something more sinister like ‘the trading of minors’, FIFA need to be consistent in how they regulate these types of transfers and when it comes to handing out punishments.


If this is just a publicity stunt to scare clubs into adhering to the guidelines and they have no intention of following through on their decision to impose sanctions on Chelsea that’s all well and good, but they need to clarify the rules because players ending contracts is part of the game nowadays.


The real problem lies with the cavalier attitude in regards to transfer dealings. It’s a murky business - agents are the main culprits because they tend to hype up their clients then command a huge slice of the transfer fee when their player does make the move.


And then there is that dirty word – undisclosed - that has been rearing its ugly head lately with all the comings and goings during the transfer window.


The fans pay the wages through tickets, new strips and subscriptions and have a right to know where their money is going, but clubs aren’t helping the integrity of football’s finances when they fail to disclose the sum that exchanges hands between clubs once a transfer takes place.


They are all prepared to turn a blind eye and sweep everything under the carpet, but if there is no wrong doing then what have they got to hide?


There is a lot more to come over the coming weeks and months in Chelsea’s case and if football’s unsavory side is to be scrutinized then it might be a good thing in the long term, but FIFA have to categorically prove they acted improperly otherwise the whole episode will turn into a farce.


Tags: FIFA, Chelsea, Gael Kakuta, Premier League, Stamford Bridge, Blues


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