Former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates believes the Blues’ transfer ban is the result of a wider practice that sees top clubs trade young players “like horsemeat”.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side were rocked this week by a FIFA ban on signing any players during the next two transfer windows after luring teenager Gael Kakuta from Lens, a decision they intend to appeal.
Bates successfully won a reported £5m compensation payment from the Blues in 2006 after they signed teenagers Michael Woods and Tom Taiwo from Leeds.
Chelsea are not alone among the Premier League elite in scouring Europe for the brightest young talents but Bates has criticised the methods involved in such a recruitment policy.
Bates, currently Leeds chairman, told the Daily Mail: “The problem here is that the big clubs are stripping the small clubs of their youngsters.
“They are like Japanese fishing trawlers, just sweeping up everything in their nets.
“Right now some of these boys are just being traded like horsemeat.”