Clubs could face transfer ban for 'tapping-up'

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The Independent Online

Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, has demanded that clubs found guilty of "tapping-up" players should face being banned from buying and selling for one transfer window.

Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, has demanded that clubs found guilty of "tapping-up" players should face being banned from buying and selling for one transfer window.

The Premier League inquiry into Chelsea's alleged approach to Arsenal's Ashley Cole got under way yesterday, triggering calls to ban clubs who break the rules from activity in the next transfer window. "It is a good idea," Blatter said. "We need more discipline and more respect for the regulations."

The inquiry, much to the dissatisfaction of Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has interfered with their FA Cup final preparations, but the Frenchman is expected to make a surprise appearance in support of Cole. Wenger, along with Arsenal's vice-chairman David Dein, will testify to the independent commission that Chelsea made an illegal approach for the England defender.

Chelsea claimed Cole and his agent, Jonathan Barnett, were responsible for instigating the meeting at a London hotel earlier this year, but Wenger backs the player's version of events. Wenger's support is considered important enough for him break off preparations for the FA Cup final against Manchester United to testify at the hearing, even though he is not compelled to do so.

Talks over a new contract for Cole have stalled since the affair but Wenger is hoping his show of support will persuade the 24-year-old to resume negotiations.

Chelsea's striker Mateja Kezman, meanwhile, says he is likely to leave Chelsea because he is frustrated at being a substitute. "I didn't come to London to walk the streets and spend money," Kezman said. "It hurts me that in the last 30 days, I played 30 minutes."

Kezman started 14 of Chelsea's 59 games since joining from PSV Eindhoven in July 2004. He came off the bench 27 times and scored seven goals. His most recent appearance was a lacklustre performance in the 1-0 loss to Liverpool that knocked his team out of the Champions' League.

Kezman said he complained to Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea coach, about being a substitute. "It turns out that I'm the victim of tactics," he said.

Chelsea are to have an open-top bus parade from Stamford Bridge to the New Kings Road in celebration of their season on Sunday. Details of road closures can be found on www.lbhf.gov.uk, and the procession route is on the club's official website.

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