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Chelsea transfer ban lifted as Lens accept 1m over Gael Kakuta row

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05 Feb 2010 00:43:16

Chelsea transfer ban lifted as Lens accept 1m over Gael Kakuta row

Centre of the storm: Kakuta Chelsea have escaped their transfer ban after reaching an out-of-court agreement to pay Lens a fee of around £1million for Gael Kakuta. The settlement represents compensation for the French club for training and developing Kakuta before he crossed the English Channel to Stamford Bridge at the age of 16. In return, Lens agreed to drop the complaint which prompted FIFA's dispute and resolution chamber to ban Chelsea from two consecut ive transfer windows. The case was due to be heard next month by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) until the lawyers struck a deal yesterday. '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,' said Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck. Lens were furious when they lost their talented teenager to Chelsea in the summer of 2007. The Premier League club claimed Kakuta was free to move but Lens insisted they had a pre-contract agreement signed by the player before his 16th birthday. They lodged an official complaint with FIFA, with president Gervais Martel accusing Chelsea of offering 'a lot of money' to Kakuta's family to persuade him to leave and demanding £4.25m in compensation. Lens were awarded only £115,000, however, as FIFA chose instead to make an example of the wealthy Premier League club with a two-window transfer ban. FIFA also fined Kakuta £680,000 for breaking the pre-contract deal and banned him from football for four months. When the punishment was delivered last September, Chelsea sent their legal team into action . They appealed to CAS, who froze the transfer ban pending the hearing. It left Chelsea free to trade in the January window but they optednot to sign anyone when the market opened. Confidence had increased atStamford Bridge that the pre-contract agreement signed by Kakuta wasnot legally binding and that they could win the case. Lens are in serious financial trouble. They are desperately seeking£10m before the end of the season to pay off debts and have lodgedanother complaint with FIFA, claiming Portsmouth owe them millions inunpaid transfer fees for Nadir Belhadjand Aruna Dindane. In the end, a financial agreement was of far greater value to themthan any point of principle and they dared not risk losing the case andincurring legal costs of their own. The French club were last night suggesting they had secured a fee of £2.8m but FIFAare expected to confirm their case had been undermined. As part of yesterday's settlement, Lens conceded that the pre-contract agreement withKakuta was 'not valid' and that, therefore, the teenager could not beaccused of breaking it and Chelsea were 'not liable for breach ofcontract'. 'As a consequence, in light of these new circumstances, thesanctions imposed upon Chelsea FC and the player by the FIFA disputeresolution chamber had to be lifted,' CAS confirmed. Kakuta, now 18, isfree to continue his career and Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlaysaid: 'We are pleased Chelsea has been cleared of any wrongdoing andthat the matter is closed.'  LEO'S LONDON: Battle of Stamford Bridge could prove Arsenal's last standMikel Obi set instant recall with Carlo Ancelotti running scared of Arsenal Zhirk off? Chelsea's Yuri emerges as loan target for Dynamo KievSHOWDOWN! Fabio Capello flies in for summit with John Terry as Wayne Bridge prepares to take the field at HullAvram Grant's wife defends her Pompey boss husband over brothel visit, saying: 'He can do whatever he likes with his body'CHELSEA FC


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