Chelsea risk having transfer ban INCREASED on appeal
Chelsea face having their shocking transfer ban INCREASED!
The Blues were stunned on Thursday when FIFA's Disputes Resolution Chamber imposed an embargo on the club signing players until January 2011 for illegally poaching Gael Kakuta.
Chelsea were outraged at the decision and have vowed to mount the strongest possible appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland.
But Ian Blackshaw, an international sports lawyer who sits on the CAS, has warned Chelsea the court has the power to hit them even harder than FIFA did.
He told The Sun: "While it is possible for the court to reduce the penalty, it is open to the CAS - if they take the view that the penalty imposed isn't severe enough - to impose a higher penalty.
"This has happened in a number of doping cases where the CAS has said the body concerned was too lenient, a two-year ban was not sufficient and the punishment did not fit the crime.
"They have then increased the punishment to three or even four years.
"This is the risk Chelsea will take in this case even though the risk may be more theoretical than actual or practical."
It had been assumed Chelsea had nothing to lose by appealing and at worst the FIFA ruling - banning them from buying players during the next two transfer windows - would be upheld.
But now further danger has been exposed. Blackshaw, though, believes Chelsea have an advantage because they can bring more evidence to the table and could get Kakuta to give his side of the story.
He said: "Chelsea have 21 days to give notice of their appeal to the CAS in Lausanne.
"The CAS is the supreme court of world sport, you cannot go any higher than that. I don't want to prejudge the appeal but the advantage Chelsea have is that under CAS rules they can look at the case all over again from scratch.
"They can accept new evidence and new information which perhaps wasn't in front of FIFA.
"Chelsea can introduce Kakuta as a witness to say what the facts were as far as he was concerned.
"They can appeal against every aspect of the ruling, the fine and the sanctions - which do seem rather harsh and swingeing - and there are precedents for the court to reduce the penalty."