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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 19:15 GMT 20:15 UK
Chelsea, Mourinho and Cole fined
Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole
Appeals from both sides are likely to see the saga rumble on
Chelsea, their manager Jose Mourinho and Ashley Cole have been handed record fines after being found guilty in the Premier League's tapping-up probe.

Chelsea were fined 300,000 and given a suspended three-point deduction.

Arsenal defender Cole was handed a 100,000 fine, while Blues manager Jose Mourinho will have to pay 200,000.

All three were said to have breached league rules by secretly meeting, without Cole's club knowing, at a London restaurant on 27 January.

The guilty parties have 14 days to appeal against the decisions of the independent commission.

Cole's lawyer Graham Shear confirmed he would be launching an immediate appeal, citing restraint of trade as a possible argument.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck also said they would almost certainly be contesting the club's punishment, and that of Mourinho as well.

We want Ashley to remain at Arsenal, he's a world-class player
Gunners vice-chairman David Dein

All parties have 21 days to pay their fines, while the costs of the case will be split equally between the three.

Chelsea will only be deducted points if they are found guilty of the same offence - tapping up a player - next season.

But Arsenal's request that they should receive compensation over the incident was rejected.

Blues chief executive Peter Kenyon, Mourinho, Cole and agents Pini Zahavi and Jonathan Barnett were said to have been present at the meeting.

Cole was found in breach of Premier League rule K5, which prohibited him from approaching Chelsea with a view to negotiating a transfer, without permission from Arsenal.

Chelsea were found guilty of breaking rule K3, forbidding them approaching Cole, who has two years left on his current deal, by any means while under contract.

PREMIER LEAGUE VERDICTS
Chelsea in breach of Rule K3 which prohibits a club making an approach to a player under contract without obtaining permission of his club
Ashley Cole in breach of Rule K5 which prevents a contracted player making an approach to a club with a view to negotiating a contract without prior written consent from his club
Jose Mourinho was found to be in breach of Rule Q, governing managers' conduct

Mourinho was in breach of rule Q, governing managers' conduct.

Reacting to the verdicts, Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, was critical of Cole's agent.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "It wasn't the best protection for him by his agent, albeit that there were talks going on with Arsenal and he was looking to see his options with other clubs.

"If there's a rule there and it's flagrantly breached then you leave yourself open to be charged."

Zahavi, the 'super agent' who has helped broker many of Chelsea's big-name signings, was alleged to have been at the Lancaster Gate meeting, as was Barnett.

Neither falls under the jurisdiction of the Premier League and therefore could not be subjected to any punishment.

It would be very difficult to have a good relationship with Arsenal
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck

But the Premier League said it will pass on the independent commission's findings to the Football Association.

An FA statement said: "We are investigating Jonathan Barnett's conduct in this matter and we will pursue any breach of FA regulations."

The initial investigation followed newspaper reports in January that Cole, Mourinho and Kenyon met at the Royal Park Hotel at Lancaster Gate in central London.

Charges were made by the Premier League on 23 March, with an independent commission hearing the case on 17-18 May.

The previous record Premier League financial punishment was back in March 2002 when Middlesbrough brought charges against Liverpool for illegally approaching defender Christian Ziege.

The Merseyside club were fined 20,000 while the player was hit with a 10,000 penalty.

Earlier this season Aston Villa were warned and ordered to pay costs for making an illegal approach to the then Southampton striker James Beattie.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Statement: Premier League's Dan Johnson


Interview: Ashley Cole's solicitor Graham Shear


Interview: Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein



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