FIFA may have overstepped mark taking on Chelsea

FIFA could have stepped over the mark by taking on Chelsea over their deal for former Lens youngster Gael Kakuta.

FIFA could have stepped over the mark by taking on Chelsea over their deal for former Lens youngster Gael Kakuta.

Chelsea will take their appeal to It is a hugely complex issue that the Court of Arbitration for Sport will have to wade through when Chelsea take their appeal to Lausanne, but the argument comes down to whether the English club can prove Kakuta was not under contract when they signed him.

In France, where Kakuta was playing for Lens, and Spain the clubs put their young players on pre-contract agreements before they can sign as a professional contract at 16.

Clearly, FIFA would appear to recognise such an agreement - Kakuta signed one with Lens when he was 13 - as legally binding and that is why they have banned Chelsea from signing players until January 2011. But one expert thinks FIFA have to be careful.

"This could end up in the European Courts as another restraint of trade issue," he told the Daily Mail.

"If a 16-year-old wants to play his football somewhere else and he hasn't signed the professional contract, it could prove difficult to enforce.

"Pre-contracts for kids that age don't exist in England and Italy. Clubs simply apply to extend a player's registration every two years. At 12, at 14, until they can sign a professional contract at 16. If a player rejects the offer from their club at 16, they are free to go somewhere else."