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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 June, 2005, 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK
Vieira denies Cole message claims
Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira
Chelsea claimed the Arsenal team was run by a French 'clique'
Patrick Vieira has denied claims he sent Arsenal team-mate Ashley Cole a text message telling him to hold out for a contract of 80,000 a week.

Documents from the Chelsea tapping-up inquiry said Cole's agent Jonathan Barnett showed Arsenal's David Dein a text during contract talks.

In it, Vieira allegedly told Cole not to accept "less than 80,000 a week".

"I categorically deny sending any such text message. It's simply not true," Vieira said in a statement.

Chelsea, Cole and Blues manager Jose Mourinho were all fined after being found guilty on Wednesday of breaking Premier League rules by holding a secret meeting.

He was concerned that the relationship with the manager was not good
Chelsea's Peter Kenyon on Ashley Cole
Documents released by the independent commission on Friday revealed a number of claims made by the various parties.

They included the revelation that Barnett showed Dein the text in January after the Arsenal vice-chairman said 55,000 a week was the club's final offer.

According to the commission: "He showed Dein a text message on Barnett's mobile phone purportedly from Patrick Vieira telling Cole 'not to accept less than 80k'.

"Barnett stated they could get 80-90,000 a week and that they could sell Ashley Cole for 20m.

"He then gestured to his phone saying: 'Do you want me to make a phone call, this is take it or leave it time', from which Dein inferred [and, as we find, Barnett intended that he should infer] that there was another club that was seriously interested in signing Ashley Cole."

Chelsea argued during the hearing that they had no intention of signing Cole, but wanted to hear his grievances about Arsenal.

But on Friday the commission dismissed Chelsea's plea of innocence.

"They (chief executive Peter Kenyon and Mourinho)... explored the prospect of acquiring Cole. This amounted to an approach with a view to negotiating a contract," the commission found.

In the 24-page evidence, it was stated that Blues chief executive Peter Kenyon claimed Cole had said at the meeting that Arsenal was run by its French contingent, and that his relationship with manager Arsene Wenger was not as solid as it should be.

"He was concerned that the relationship with the manager was not good, that there was definitely a series of cliques and the team was primarily run by the French boys," Kenyon told the commission.

"He was also concerned that he did not feel that there was a team spirit and it was clear from the outset, obviously from being on England duty with some of our boys, that he felt there appeared to be a very good team spirit at Chelsea and that was why we were doing so well."

Cole to launch appeal after fine
01 Jun 05 |  Arsenal
Chelsea, Mourinho and Cole fined
01 Jun 05 |  Premiership
The truth about 'tapping up'
01 Jun 05 |  Football
Cole case could 'lead to chaos'
02 Jun 05 |  Premiership


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