Chelsea seek personal hearing with UEFA

CHELSEA will spend the weekend deciding on the composition of the team which will attend next Thursday’s disciplinary hearing at UEFA HQ in Switzerland.

The club will, it is understood, be asking for a personal hearing, but they have not yet come to a decision on whether chief executive Peter Kenyon, manager Jose Mourinho, his assistant Steve Clarke or security officer Les Miles will attend the meeting.

Chelsea have until next Tuesday to submit their written evidence to UEFA and ask for a personal hearing.

The club are almost certain to submit some form of legal representation at the meeting to underline their grievance that the disciplinary action has been prejudiced by public comments made by UEFA's director of communications, William Gaillard.

Chief executive Kenyon robustly rejected claims that Chelsea lied to UEFA over allegations that Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard had a dressing room meeting with Swedish referee Anders Frisk during their Champions League clash at the Nou Camp stadium last month.

UEFA charged Mourinho, Clarke and Miles with bringing the game into disrepute for making 'false declarations' in a report that alleged Rijkaard visited Frisk's dressing room at half-time.

UEFA also deferred two other disciplinary cases until the same meeting namely Chelsea's non-appearance at the post-match press conference and their late arrival on to the pitch for the start of the second-half in Spain.

Chelsea will be fined for those two offences, but the club are still smarting from the public caning they received from Gaillard ahead of the more serious charges brought against the club by European football's governing body.

Chelsea have other off-field headaches to deal with as well. The Premier League will seek a formal response from Chelsea, manager Jose Mourinho and Ashley Cole after charging all three following the alleged 'tapping up' of the Arsenal defender, with an independent disciplinary commission set to review the case.

After considering the evidence gathered from their lawyer, Nick Fitzpatrick, into a meeting between Chelsea, Cole and his agent, Jonathan Barnett, at a London hotel, the Premier League last night issued a statement in which they set out a course of action, in accordance with their own disciplinary procedures.

The statement read: "On Sunday 6 February, the board of the FA Premier League launched a formal inquiry following allegations that Chelsea FC may have acted in breach of Premier League Rule K3 regarding approaches to players already contracted to another club.

"As a result of that inquiry, the Board of the FA Premier League has issued the following charges:

"1 Chelsea FC has been charged with a breach of Rule K3, governing approaches to players.

"2 Jose Mourinho (the manager of Chelsea FC) has been charged with a breach of Rule Q, governing managers' conduct.

"3 Ashley Cole has been charged with a breach of Rule K5, governing approaches by players to clubs.

"Consequently, the board will be asking for a formal response to these charges within 14 days and has begun the process of appointing a three-person independent commission, in accordance with its disciplinary procedures, to determine this matter.

"The Board wishes to state that it has so far received co-operation from Chelsea FC, Mr Mourinho and Mr Cole and expects this to continue."

However, the statement added: "As licensed agents, Mr Jonathan Barnett and Mr Pini Zahavi do not fall within the jurisdiction of the FA Premier League for the purposes of this matter.

"The Board will be forwarding information gathered during the inquiry to the Football Association with a view to considering whether further steps should be taken in relation to their actions."

If they are eventually found guilty Chelsea will probably escape with a substantial fine, although a full range of punishments up to expulsion from the competition are open to the commission, under provision of Section R of Premier League rules.

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