Lens back Chelsea punishment

Lens president Gervais Martel insists FIFA’s decision to ban Chelsea from signing new players for 18 months is fair.

The Blues were found guilty by football’s governing body for inducing former Lens winger Gael Kakuta to breach his contract with the French club so he could complete a switch to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have announced they will appeal against the ruling that currently means they will be unable to sign any new players in the next two transfer windows.

They were also ordered to pay €130,000 in compensation to Lens while Kakuta must hand his former club €780,000 with the Blues jointly liable for the payment.

Martel said: “The player was under contract with us, and they came and stole him away from us.

“It’s an important message given that protecting up and coming youth players who are contracted to clubs is an issue being followed closely by (UEFA president) Michel Platini.”

The Blues were astonished by the ruling, both in terms of the ban and the financial punishment, and in a brief statement said they would be launching “the strongest appeal possible”.

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