Chelsea, the London football club owned by billionaire Roman Abramovic, has today been handed a transfer ban by Football’s governing body, FIFA, which prevents them from signing any player until January 2011.
The ban comes after the club was found guilty of inducing French midfielder Gael Kakuta to breach his contract with former club, Lens, in 2007.
This decision, which will likely be appealed in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, means Chelsea will miss the next two transfer periods.
Lens lodged a complaint with FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Centre after Chelsea signed Kakuta, alleging that the player had breached his contract, and that Chelsea had induced him to do so.
The DRC confirmed this allegation, in a statement issued today:
“The DRC found that the player had indeed breached a contract signed with the French club. Equally, the DRC deemed it to be established that the English club induced the player to such breach.”
Kakuta has been fined €780,000, for which Chelsea are jointly liable, though the fine is likely to concern the club far less than the transfer ban which may well disrupt Chelsea’s Barclays Premier League Championship and UEFA Champion’s League bids.
Indeed, following the announcement, Chelsea’s odds for the Premier League eased on internet betting exchange, Betfair, though the team remain favourites for the competition with a price of 2.34 (11/8).
Chelsea have many players in their first team squad who are aged over thirty: it is highly likely they would look to add to this squad in one or both of the next two transfer windows, were they allowed.
The footballing world awaits Chelsea’s response to this unprecedented transfer ban.