Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog

Are UEFA & FIFA trying to kill English football?
September 3, 2009, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Platini: more or less obsessed with toppling England than Napoleon?

Platini: more or less obsessed with toppling England than Napoleon?

Chelsea have been banned from all transfer dealings until January 2011, after FIFA found they had tapped up French youngster Gael Kakuta.

A report into their pursuit of the unknown winger prior to his 2007 transfer suggests the London club told him to end his contract with Lens and move to Stamford Bridge.  I’d imagine a huge number of transfers happen this way, but for some reason Chelsea have been targeted as the most naughty of all boys and can’t play in the transfer market for two years.

The move has left two schools of thought; those that are laughing at Chelsea’s ironic status as Premiership paupers, and those who believe the international football organisations are setting out to curb English dominance of European football.  Personally, I subscribe to both theories.

Firstly, lets get the conspiracy theory out of the way.  Ever since Norweigian ref Tom Henning Ovrebo masterminded Chelsea’s loss to Barcelona last season, it has seemed that English clubs have received some very peculiar treatment from international football authorities.

After three English teams qualified for last seasons Champion’s League semi-finals, UEFA President Michelle Platini openly accepted that he hoped Barcelona would win the tournamet “for the good of the game”.

This year, Arsenal have been outrageously hit with a two-game ban for Eduardo, imposed due to a rule which does not exist, has no previous precedent and that UEFA have admitted will not be thrust upon any future players found commiting the same offence.

This embargo is further proof that English teams receive extreme punishment from the authorities.  It’s hard to say otherwise, seeing as countless other teams have been found guilty of (but not punished for) tapping up players in the past.

Naturally, we’re all waiting to see what creative ways FIFA or UEFA come up with for curbing Liverpool or Manchester United in Europe.  A retrospective ban on male pattern baldness would neuter Rooney’s threat, while suspensions for unprovoked self-defence is the best way to get rid of that pesky Gerrard fella.

The next angle to come at the whole affair is, quite naturally, to laugh at Chelsea.  It’s hard to shake off the sense of schaudenfeude that a club that bullied the transfer market for so many years has now essentially been expelled from the playground.

"Big issue?"
“Big issue?”

Chelsea’s already ageing squad will not be title challengers in two years time.  By the end of the embargo their number of players aged 30+ players will be outrageous (Cech, Terry, Cavalharo, both Coles, Ballack, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba etc).  This would obviously be a great thing for their younger players such as Daniel Sturridge and Stoch The Dwarf, but a lot of pressure will fall onto Frank Arnesan.

Has he really been producing good young players?  Now it’s his time to prove it.

Finally, it should be noted that The Blues still have a chance to appeal, and the embargo will probably be revoked.  It’s no great surprise that the ban came the day after the transfer window shut, meaning they can appear to have been reprimanded but the whole shambles will be resolved by the time the January transfer window opens.

Chelsea insist they will “mount the strongest appeal possible” and say the sanctions are “totally disproportionate to the alleged offence”.  I must say, I agree with them.

Past precedents suggest they will eventually have it quashed.  The Swiss club FC Sion had a similar embargo imposed on them for tapping up an Egyptian goalkeeper, and it was swiftly reversed after they appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Hopefully that will happen again here.  After all, where else would they spend all of that Adrian Mutu windfall that will be coming their way?


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