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Page last updated at 20:31 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 21:31 UK

Chelsea chief defends Kakuta deal

Gael Kakuta
Kakuta, 18, joined Chelsea from French side Lens in 2007

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has dismissed suggestions that signing Gael Kakuta was "child trafficking".

Chelsea have been hit by a transfers ban after Fifa found them guilty of inducing Kakuta to break his contract with Lens in 2007 when he was 16.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter called it "child slavery" and Uefa president Michel Platini "child trafficking".

But Kenyon hit back: "It was something that happened two years ago that was in no way child trafficking."

The Stamford Bridge club have been banned by Fifa from making any new signings for two transfer windows, as well as having to pay Lens "training compensation" of 130,000 euros (£114,000).

We have signed up fully to the proposed ban on international under-18 transfers

Chelsea chief Peter Kenyon

Kakuta has been banned from playing in official matches for four months and the now 18-year-old must also pay compensation of 780,000 euros (£682,000), for which Chelsea are "jointly and severally liable".

Chelsea are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, and Kenyon added: "He wants to play his profession, which is football.

"We need to take account for that and understand this is something that happened two years ago, and make sure we've got enough support around him to ensure he's fully supported at a difficult time."


Blatter promises young players protection

Kenyon also insisted that Chelsea were still supportive of a ban on the international transfers of players aged under 18, a move Fifa and Uefa are both backing.

"This has been talked about for the last 12 months and we have signed up fully to the European Club Association's and Uefa's position, along with Fifa's," he said.

"We need to separate our overall position with the specific case. The fact we are appealing tells you our position."

Chelsea's director of communications and public affairs Simon Greenberg echoed Kenyon's comments and also reiterated that the Blues are keen to put English players at the heart of their youth development.

"We are fully supportive of the ban," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "I think we always supported the proposal and Peter Kenyon is a member of the European Club Association.

666 and Elmondy

"Chelsea, as an individual club and a responsible member of Uefa and as a supporter of Fifa, have always supported the ban of under-18 transfers - especially in the respect where this has been dubbed as 'child trafficking' or 'child slavery'.

"Our absolute priority is to develop young players, preferably English, preferably London-born players, which is what's at the heart of our team.

"We have a core of English players and that is the philosophy of the Chelsea academy. We've always been Brit-centric and I don't think other clubs can necessarily say that. That has always been our preferred option."

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see also
Taylor supports U18 transfer ban
06 Sep 09 |  Chelsea
Transfer embargo hope for Chelsea
05 Sep 09 |  Chelsea
Chelsea angered by signings ban
04 Sep 09 |  Chelsea
Man Utd deny 'stealing' youngster
01 Aug 09 |  Man Utd
New-boy Cole defends Chelsea move
08 Sep 06 |  Chelsea
Chelsea will not fight Cole fine
15 Jun 05 |  Chelsea

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