Mutu appeals over Chelsea sacking as Juventus lie in wait

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The Independent Online

The Premier League confirmed yesterday that Adrian Mutu has lodged an appeal against his dismissal by Chelsea after testing positive for cocaine.

The Premier League confirmed yesterday that Adrian Mutu has lodged an appeal against his dismissal by Chelsea after testing positive for cocaine.

A hearing will now be organised at which both the Romanian striker, who was also suspended for seven months by the Football Association and fined £20,000, and his former employers will give evidence. "Adrian Mutu's legal representatives have launched an appeal against his sacking by Chelsea," a Premier League spokesman said.

Mutu, whose case has been taken up by the Professional Footballers' Association, is understood to be anxious to sign a pre-contract agreement with Juventus. He has held talks with the Serie A club and now employs Alessandro Moggi, the son of Juventus's general manager, Luciano Moggi, as his agent.

Mutu wants to prevent Chelsea from succeeding in their own request to the Football Association to withhold his player registration, despite his sacking for gross misconduct, so that they can secure compensation for their loss. It is unlikely, in any case, that Chelsea's wishes will be granted - which raises questions as to exactly why Mutu is appealing.

It could be simply that he wants to pre-empt any further

legal action from Chelsea so that he can sign the deal with Juventus, effectively as a free agent, and secure a seven-figure signing-on fee. Chelsea will do everything to prevent that from happening although, as yet, they have not instigated any legal proceedings. The club signed Mutu, 25, for £15.8m from Parma last year and value him at £12m in their accounts, when the depreciation of his contract is taken into account.

Mutu's case will be based on the precedent of other players who were found to have taken illegal substances but who were offered rehabilitation rather than being sacked. However, Chelsea are convinced they have acted legally and according to the player's contract.

Mutu's suspension has been extended worldwide by football's governing body, Fifa. However, he is being allowed to train with one of his former clubs, Dinamo Bucharest, and was yesterday in Armenia for Romania's World Cup qualifier.

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