The Independent Commission made up of Sir Phillip Otton QC (Chair), Mr David Dent and Mr Malcolm George, convened to communicate their judgement on the alleged breaches of Premier League rules as a result of the official complaint by Arsenal Football Club.
We consider it unacceptable that a player (and Agent) should approach another Club (their rival) in the Premier League - contrary to FAPL Rules and contrary to the expectations of Arsenal who were entitled to expect loyalty from a player who they have nurtured from boyhood to a glittering football career.
Where there was still two and a half years to run of a five-year contract: we recognise that Ashley Cole was manipulated to a large extent by his agent and that Ashley Cole's responsibility for the arrangements of the meeting was not of his direct making.
Nevertheless, he attended willingly and endorsed what his agent did and said.
We accept that this is the only blot on a hitherto exemplary professional career, it is unlikely that Ashley Cole will ever be tempted to behave in this manner again.
In imposing the fine we do, we intend that other players who may be tempted to act in a similar fashion will be deterred from such irresponsible behaviour.
We impose a fine of £100,000.
CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB
A Club with the national and international standing enjoyed by Chelsea have a responsibility to behave meticulously within FAPL rules.
These rules have been developed over many years and operate to the benefit of Clubs and players alike and the good of the game.
We consider it unacceptable that Chelsea Football Club saw fit to respond to an invitation extended by Pini Zahavi and Jonathan Barnett.
It was a rash and dangerous course to take and was likely to, and did, bring the club into disrepute in the eyes of other Premier League clubs and the public alike.
In imposing the sanction in which we now do, we intend to deter other clubs who may be tempted to act in a similar fashion.
A fine of £300,000 and 3 points will be deducted, only to be activated in the event of a Rule K3 offence being committed during the 2005/06 Premier League season and at the discretion of the Disciplinary Commission dealing with that further offence.
Jose Mourinho played a pivotal role in the events leading up to and during the 27 January meeting.
He agreed to accompany Peter Kenyon, when he could and should have realised the implications of the secret meeting and declined to go.
The presence of the manager was vital because he was the key component in the discussion.
Managers are fully aware of their obligations under the Rules and he acted in blatant disregard of them.
In imposing the penalty we now do, we aim to send a clear message to other managers that this conduct must not occur.
Fine - £200,000
It is a matter of regret that two of the most involved participants are not eligible to be dealt with by this Disciplinary Commission.
We recommend that the responsible bodies concerned should investigate the roles of the two agents Pini Zahavi and Jonathan Barnett.
Arsenal Football Club wish to obtain compensation from Chelsea Football Club for damages and loss they claim to have suffered as a result of these offences. We decline to do so.
We consider that the time has come when these two respected Premier League Clubs should put this matter to rest and face each other next season in the spirit which is expected of them by the football public.
To impose compensation would only keep the wound open and achieve nothing towards this end.
Finally, it is still a matter of profound regret that this matter has disturbed a unique relationship between Arsenal Football Club and Ashley Cole.
He is a most gifted footballer and hitherto his loyalty to Arsenal has never been questioned.
Ashley Cole must also realise that Arsenal Football Club have been a major factor in the development of his brilliant career, without which he may not have reached the heights that he now enjoys.
We express the hope that this relationship can be restored and that some accommodation can still be reached so that Highbury can continue to be adorned with his talents.
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