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There is, of course, a lot of reaction to digest on the FIFA action against Chelsea announced yesterday for inducing Gaël Kakuta to break his contract with Lens and sign with the London club. Chelsea not surprisingly said they will appeal the decision, stating pompously and with no substantive claim against the actual decision that “The sanctions are without precedent to this level and totally disproportionate to the alleged offence and the financial penalty imposed.”
David Conn agrees with our initial thought that given the precedent in various cases, Chelsea may find their appeal to CAS hard going. And Patrick Barclay easily rubbishes the idea this is part of some conspiracy against the English. Henry Winter provides further praise for FIFA, rightly asking “Why should Lens not reap the rewards of all the hard work they poured into nurturing Kakuta?” James Lawton offers a similar reaction to your own editor’s, commenting that “What on earth is happening to football? Could it really be in danger of being properly governed?” Lets not get too excited just yet, but this strong and consistent stance from FIFA is to be applauded.
Meanwhile, David Hytner considers the consequences of this for Chelsea’s Frank Arneson, who was “at a low ebb” at the time of the signing as head of youth development, with the implication being he made a desperate and foolish decision to pursue the brilliant Kakuta at all costs. Surely, though, Peter Kenyon also deserves some blame. The Independent speaks with Lens’ Francis Collado, who asked Arneson for $8m compensation for Kakuta two years ago. According to Collado, Kenyon smiled and said “That’s not possible”. He’s not smiling now.
Finally, on the playing side, Jamie Jackson looks at the consequences for Chelsea, noting that unless there is a successful appeal, Ancelotti will have to cope with a squad assembled almost entirely by his predecessors until 2011. And of course, the key question is: could Kakuta actually be worth all this trouble in the end anyway? Matt Dickinson at The Times and Simon Kass at the Daily Mail profile the so-called Black Zidane, a young man who one must feel a little sorry for given the pressure now riding on him.
- Manchester United fans shouldn’t laugh too hard at Chelsea just yet, as their club face accusations from Le Havre that they induced France U-16 captain Paul Pogba to join them just last month. The French club are saying that United offered very large sums of money to Pogba’s parents to end his contract with the French club.
- From Four Four Two is a rare piece from Iffy Onura, a blogger at the site but better known as a former professional footballer and most recently, assistant manager of Lincoln City. Iffy, along with manager Peter Jackson, was recently fired after a string of poor results and tells us “what it feels like to be sacked”. It’s interesting to see where Iffy places the blame; he laments about the short-term reaction of a “vocal minority” (presumably of supporters), and decries “that scourge of the modern coach/manager, the unofficial websites and forums”, where questioning about Iffy’s role at the club had begun to percolate.
- Real Madrid’s Galactico project(s) have always had a touch of the absurd about them, but their determination to create a caricature out of themselves is confirmed by the announcement of Florentino Perez that the club is “considering the creation of a Disneyland-style theme park” on the outskirts of Madrid.
- Four Four Two looks at the biggest salaries in Serie A. Surprising — even though it is Inter and Mourinho — to see a coach top the scale, has that ever happened before in one of the big four European leagues?
- Dan Steinberg has an excellent piece in which he actually talks to supporters (imagine that!) at the D.C.-Sounders Open Cup Final, with a wide-range of opinions surveyed, the most common comment from the Sounders fans expressing amazement that D.C. could not sell more tickets, despite some grudging respect they all had for Barra Brava. One Barra founder didn’t take kindly to the Seattle visitors, commenting that “You have to earn your stripes….I respect them for coming from far away, but I don’t like them talking [junk]. That’s why they’ve become to me, if not No. 1, the second place people we hate, besides New Jersey. We respect people as long as they don’t mess around. They need to show respect.”
- FIFA.com has its weekly, excellent world leagues preview to get you ready for the less obvious action around the globe.
The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.