Joint inquiry launched into Leeds' claims

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The Football Association and Premier League have agreed to conduct a joint inquiry into allegations made by Leeds United against Chelsea.

The FA said yesterday that the inquiry "will look into the alleged conduct of Chelsea FC in relation to three Leeds United academy players last season".

Leeds chairman Ken Bates reported his former club Chelsea to the FA on 2 August over alleged illegal approaches to players.

Bates, who sold Chelsea to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2003, said the English champions made illegal approaches to Tom Taiwo and Michael Wood and also when they attempted to sign Daniel Rose.

Bates said at the time: "We have considerable and great weight of evidence to demonstrate quite clearly, without a shadow of doubt, that Chelsea behaved consistently aggressively in stealing these two players from Leeds United.

"It is not a question of punishing Chelsea for this latest breach. It is a question of stopping them doing it in the future," he added.

The inquiry will be carried out by both the FA and Premier League because the allegations relate to FA and FAPL rules. The FA said it was also separately considering a complaint by Chelsea against Bates regarding public comments made about the London club's directors and management.

Chelsea have said their former owner brought the game into disrepute by making "rude, insulting and inappropriate comments" when accusing the club of making illegal approaches to players.

Chelsea's statement on 17 August said that Bates had made a reference to the club's directors that was "discriminatory... in terms of race, nationality and religion". "Such comments have no place in football," the statement added.

Chelsea were fined £300,000 in June 2005 and handed a suspended three-point deduction by the Premier League following an investigation into claims they had "tapped up" Arsenal defender Ashley Cole.