One question. If we are innocent, why did we end up paying three times the original fee? WTF?http://www.timesonli...icle7015885.ece
Chelsea free to buy as transfer ban lifted after £2.6m deal for Gael Kakuta
Chelsea were breathing a sigh of relief last night after reaching a settlement with Lens over the controversial transfer of Gaël Kakuta. The club have had their transfer ban lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after agreeing to pay compensation to Lens for signing the French teenager.
Chelsea hailed the ruling as a victory that vindicated their behaviour throughout the entire affair, but it came at a cost. It is understood that they have agreed to pay Lens £2.6 million, more than three times the fine imposed by Fifa, the world governing body, last year.
After the original hearing last September, Fifa ordered Chelsea to pay £113,000 to Lens, fined Kakuta £680,000, which was picked up by the club, for breaching his contract, and banned the 18-year-old from all football for four months.
Chelsea have concluded that the increased compensation package is a price worth paying, because they will now be permitted to sign players during the summer transfer window and Kakuta can resume his promising career. The settlement is also half the £5 million the club paid Leeds United four years ago after being accused of making illegal approaches to Michael Woods and Tom Taiwo — who has since moved to Carlisle United — teenagers who have made considerably less impact at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea can also claim the moral high ground, after a statement released by the CAS yesterday acknowledged that Kakuta did not have a contract with Lens to breach.
Of greater significance is the reprieve for Frank Arnesen, the club’s sporting director, who was under pressure internally for orchestrating the transfer, but has now been absolved of any blame. The Dane has also developed a close relationship with Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, and is likely to stay in his post.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport has issued an award today ratifying the agreement reached by Chelsea FC, Racing Club de Lens and the French football player, Gaël Kakuta, putting an end to this arbitration procedure which also involved Fifa,” a statement from Lausanne, Switzerland, read yesterday. “The CAS has noted that, in the agreement, the two clubs and the player have recognised that the contract between the player and RC Lens was not valid.
“Accordingly, the player could not have terminated it prematurely and without just cause and FC Chelsea cannot therefore be liable for inducing a breach of contract. As a consequence, in light of these new circumstances, the sanctions imposed upon Chelsea FC and the player by the Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber had to be lifted.”
Ron Gourlay, the Chelsea chief executive, said that the club had been cleared of any wrongdoing, while Bruce Buck, the chairman, even suggested that as a result of the agreement they will be able to work together with Lens in the future.
“We are pleased to have come to an amicable resolution of the matter that has been ratified by CAS and recognised by Fifa,” Buck said. “It was always our intention to work together with Lens to reach this end, and both clubs have strengthened their relationship as a result of resolving this case to everyone’s satisfaction.”
Chelsea have been negotiating with Lens behind the scenes for some time and were always confident of reaching an agreement, which explains their failure to sign any new players during last month’s transfer window. The club are unlikely to be as restrained in the summer, however, and will focus their attention once more on longstanding targets such as Sergio Agüero and Franck Ribéry.
Chelsea’s renewed ability to make signings may have an impact on players already at the club, who could now be sold to make way for newcomers. The club’s refusal to cave in to Joe Cole’s wage demands has also been vindicated, for his negotiating position has been weakened considerably because his employers are now free to sign a potential replacement.