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Can't turn the tap off

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Scott Minto believes the transfer ban handed out to Chelsea is "extremely harsh" because tapping-up is rife in football.

FIFAspacer.gifhas banned Chelsea from registering any new players in the next twotransfer windows after French clubs Lens made an official complaintover the Blues' signing of Gael Kakuta in 2007.

As a result, Carlo Ancelotti'sspacer.gifside have been banned from signing players over the next two transferwindows, which means they will not be able to bring in any new facesuntil 2011.

The punishment appears to relate to the issue of tapping-up and Mintospacer.gif insists it is something that goes on frequently in the professional game.

"You'd think that all clubs do it," he told Sky Sports News.

"Playershave come out and said in their books that they were tapped up. We knowit goes on at all levels, not just the highest level, so I'm reallysurprised.

"On the face of it, it looks extremely harsh and you wonder whether FIFA are trying to hit a big club.

"Peopledo speak to you through third parties and ask if you would beinterested. I didn't get an agent until I was 23, but beforehand I gotphone calls from people saying 'would you be interested in this club?'

"Youget phone calls and you are asked certain questions. As a player Idon't think there's too much of a problem. We know it goes on all yeararound and maybe FIFA need to change the rule book.

"I don't seehow you can stop it. Even if this ban stays, are you telling me otherclubs throughout the country and throughout Europe are not going to doit? I think they will."


Minto feels Chelsea willappeal the decision but he is confident that the Blues' squad is strongenough to be able to cope if the punishment is imposed.

However, he insists the team may suffer if they are not able to replace a number of key players who will be playing in the African Nations Cupspacer.gif in the New Year.

"That's a worry Chelsea have had over Michael Essien,spacer.gifJohn Obi Mikelspacer.gif and Didier Drogbaspacer.gif since they signed for the club," said Minto.

"In January Chelsea might have looked to get somebody in, whether that's in terms of buying or getting somebody on loan.

"The fact that they can't do that will be a blow. You look at the spine of the team, it's John Terryspacer.gif and Frank Lampardspacer.gif - then Essien and Drogba. When those two are gone there will be problems.

"Ancelottiknew this at the start of the season and he's happy with the squad. Heknew come January that these players would go and maybe he feels he'sgot the squad to handle it."


Minto alsogave his opinion on the young player at the centre of the scandal,suggesting Kakuta is currently the most promising young player at theclub.

"Gael Kakuta is a very good player, he's a big talent," Minto added.

"He's 17-years-of age and he played in the reserves for Chelsea this week, setting up one of the goals.

"Ithink it's another two, maybe three years before he'll really beconsidered for the first team in terms of a regular, but he's got agood chance.

"Chelsea have been spending a lot of money on theyouth team. When Abramovich first came in they spent a lot of money ongetting big players in, but now they want to see players coming throughthe youth academy - whether they're English or not.

"For me, Gael Kakuta is the star of the academy at the moment. He's a big talent."

Source: SkySports

Nice to see people on ourside.

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i think Scott will always be on our side but I get where he's coming from really

we are as usual being made scap goats and an example to all the other clubs

i think we can cope but it's being made more difficult because of the ACN and players we'll be losing in that time

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Exactly!!! Thats why mainly so we're a warning to others but kinda sudden and soon

But yeh we can cope.Its just having something to fall back on if needed and if suddenly players say I want out! If its anything like last time then we'll be ok,most our players didnt stay long for ACN so maybe..

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Of course what Chelsea have, and what Fifa can never take away, is an in-built resilience from the days of Jose Mourinho

And a punishment of this sort is only likely to stiffen a siege mentality as they go in search of their first Champions League, the Holy Grail, and also try to reclaim the Premier League title that has resided at Old Trafford for the past three seasons.

If Chelsea, as Fifa has ruled, induced Kakuta to leave the club that nurtured him, then it must be regarded as a laudible, landmark move to punish them.

Chelsea will now plead their case vehemently, but as a general principle any move to protect clubs from having young talent they have invested time, money and resources in spirited away without at least fitting financial compensation is to be applauded.

It may also mean in future that smaller clubs will feel on a firmer footing when standing up to the richer rivals ready to prey on their production line of talent.

Sympathy for Chelsea (of course the very words are likely to induce roars of laughter from around the community of Premier League supporters) may come with the hope that Fifa's net will claim more than just them.

If Fifa actually believes Chelsea are the only club guilty of this particular offence in world football, then naivety is being stretched to its furthest point. Are we to seriously believe that? I do not. This is a can of worms that has yet to be fully opened.

An extract from Phil McNulty's Blog for BBC


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