Chelsea walks as money talks

With Chelsea having their transfer embargo lifted by the Court for Arbitration for Sport over the former Lens player Gael Kakuta, it proves that money rules the roost over football, no matter what FIFA may think.

Last week CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) announced that Chelsea’s transfer embargo till 2011 had been lifted after an agreement between Lens and Chelsea had been reached. In a statement CAS said ‘The CAS has noted that, in the agreement, the two clubs and the player have recognized that the contract between the two clubs and the player was not valid. Accordingly, the player could not have terminated it prematurely and without just cause.’ A deal was done behind closed doors between the clubs, in other words Chelsea offered a sweaty wad of cash so the whole thing would go away.

Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck was delighted with the news and said in a statement ‘We are pleased to have come to an amicable resolution of the matter and that it has been ratified by CAS and recognized by FIFA. Chelsea has agreed to pay compensation costs for the training given to the player while at Lens, as mandated by FIFA in its original ruling.’ The cost to which Chelsea is believed to have agreed with Lens is around the £800,000 mark.

FIFA made the unprecedented step of banning Chelsea from all transfer activity till 2011 last September after they found the club to have illegally made Kakuta sign for Chelsea from Lens in 2007. Kakuta himself was banned for 4 months and the club fined £790,000. Chelsea appealed against what seemed a harsh decision and took the case to CAS. The news last week is surely a blow to FIFA’s attempts to stop big clubs moving for young foreign players.

What is clearly evident here is that money does talk, upon the appeal of the ban Chelsea had the opportunity to sign players and bolster their squad for the next 18 months should they lose the appeal and have to accept no transfer activity for the next two transfer windows. They moved for no-one, Carlo Ancelotti claimed he was perfectly satisfied with the squad he had, even though Chelsea consists of a mostly ageing side. Chelsea must have known they were going to win this one all along, Lens by no imagination are a large club and the offer of money for a team such as themselves cannot be ignored lightly.

Whilst understanding the principle FIFA wish to highlight, banning Chelsea for such a period of time was rather ridiculous given that the Stamford Bridge outfit is by no means the only club that does such deals for young players. All the major clubs in Europe do this; to pick out Chelsea seemed to insinuate a disliking for the club rather than to solve the problem. FIFA’s idle handing of anything Real Madrid do wrong is almost laughable.

Yet FIFA has a real problem on its hands, Money has just wiped away the issue that is becoming a real problem for smaller clubs holding onto their young talents, so that yes they can sell them in the future, but at the maximum fee after nurturing them through. Whilst Chelsea fans can sound a sigh of relief, this debacle is a prime example of how money has a tight grip over our beautiful game.