Chelsea transfer ban lifted

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The Independent Online

Chelsea's transfer embargo was lifted today after they were cleared of any wrongdoing over the transfer of Gael Kakuta.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport found in Chelsea's favour after FIFA had banned them from signing any new players until 2011 as punishment for allegedly inducing Kakuta to break his contract with Lens.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: "We are pleased to have come to an amicable resolution of the matter and that it has been ratified by CAS and recognised by FIFA."

The embargo was suspended by CAS in November, enabling Chelsea to conduct business in the January transfer window, which closed on Monday.

As promised, manager Carlo Ancelotti opted against brining in reinforcements but the removal of the restriction enables the Italian to strengthen during the summer.

Buck added: "It was always our intention to work together with Lens to reach this end.

"Both clubs have strengthened their relationship as a result of resolving this case to everyone's satisfaction.

"In an act of good faith and with a view to the possibility of future collaboration with Lens, and without recognising any liability, 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."

Kakuta joined Chelsea in 2007, prompting Lens to lodge a complaint with FIFA seeking compensation for breach of contract and asking for sporting sanctions against the London club.

The sport's world governing body found Chelsea guilty of inducing Kakuta to breach his contract and the Blues were banned from registering any new players for the next two transfer windows - effectively until January 2011.

Chelsea were ordered to pay Lens compensation amounting to 130,000 euros, while Kakuta was banned from playing in all matches for four months and ordered to pay 780,000 euros in compensation.

Along with the transfer embargo, these sanctions were suspended until CAS had conducted their review.

CAS today ratified the agreement reached by Chelsea, Lens and Kakuta and cleared the Barclays Premier League leaders of any wrongdoing.

A CAS statement read: "The CAS has noted that, in the agreement, the two clubs and the player have recognised that the contract between the player and Lens was not valid.

"Accordingly, the player could not have terminated it prematurely and without just cause and Chelsea cannot therefore be liable for inducing a breach of contract.

"As a consequence, in light of these new circumstances, the sanctions imposed upon Chelsea and the player by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber had to be lifted.

"In accordance with the parties' request, the entire proceedings, including the arbitral award and the agreement shall remain confidential."

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay expressed his delight with CAS' findings.

"Naturally we're pleased Chelsea has been cleared of any wrongdoing and that the matter is now closed," he said.

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