FIFA have punished Chelsea by banning them from the signing new players in the next two transfer windows after they were found guilty of inducing Gael Kakuta, a France youth international, to breach his contract with Lens in 2007. The decision means that Chelsea will not be able to add to their squad until January 2011.
Fifa’s regulations on the status and transfer of players state in Article 17, paragraph 4: “It shall be presumed, unless established to the contrary, that any club signing a professional who has terminated his contract without just cause has induced that professional to commit a breach. The club shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for two registration periods.”
How will this ban affect the incentives of current players registered with Chelsea? The club, being unable to sign new players, will be desperate to hold on to what they already have. The current players, knowing that the club cannot look elsewhere to replace them, will be in the driving seat when it comes to contract negotiation as they can effectively ‘hold-up’ the club to meet their demands.
The precedent for such bans being enforced is not strong, however, with Roma having their ban reduced to one summer transfer window (arguably the less important transfer window in a season) and Swiss club Sion currently appealing their two window ban.