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Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009

Chelsea vows to appeal ban

ZURICH (AP) Chelsea was banned from signing any new players for a year because it encouraged a teenager to break his contract with a French team and sign with the English power.

News photo
Showdown looms: Robinho controls the ball during a training session in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. Brazil will play Argentina in a 2010 World Cup qualifier on Saturday. AP PHOTO

The sport's governing body Thursday barred Chelsea from taking part in the next two transfer windows — January 2010 and the next offseason. The next time the Premier League team would be able to sign a new player — nationally or internationally — would be January 2011.

Chelsea called the penalty "without precedent" and "totally disproportionate" and said it would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

The French club Lens had complained that Chelsea lured 18-year-old striker Gael Kakuta to break his contract and join the English team in 2008. FIFA said it "established that the English club induced the player to such breach."

FIFA has been trying to impress on clubs and players that contracts must be respected. The ruling body ordered Kakuta and Chelsea to pay Lens $1.12 million.

Chelsea must pay Lens an additional $186,000 as a training fee. In addition, the French player is barred from any games worldwide for four months.

"It's a logical decision," Lens president Gervais Martel said by telephone. "They stole the lad off us when he was 16. He was at our place since the age of 8 1/2."

Martel said Kakuta deserved to be punished even though he was not an adult when he broke his contract.

"It's a good decision, but Lens was not compensated enough," Martel said. "The player is a gem. He is good enough to play for Chelsea."

While a ban would restrict new Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti, the club's recent policy of signing players to long-term contracts provides some protection should its anticipated appeal fail.

Liverpool on hold

LONDON (AP) Liverpool's new stadium will not be built until the global recession is over and credit becomes available to finance the $800 million project.

The 60,000-seat replacement for Liverpool's historic but crumbling Anfield ground was due to have opened next year, but the economic downturn forced co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. to halt building work last August.

The American owners had said it would be a "short-term delay," but they are still not able to put a date on building work resuming.

"Construction on the stadium will begin when the current contraction in the banking industry ends and the global financial markets re-establish their equilibrium," Liverpool's new managing director Christian Purslow said.

Purslow hopes the stadium on the adjacent Stanley Park will be ready in time for 2018 to stage World Cup matches should England's bid to stage the showcase event prove successful.

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