Blues defend Kakuta signing
Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is adamant the signing of Gael Kakuta is not 'child trafficking'.
Last Updated: 08/09/09 3:49pm
Chelsea are adamant the signing of Gael Kakuta is not 'child trafficking' and say they will support a ban on the international transfer of players aged under 18.
Fifa have handed the Blues an 18-month transfer ban after finding the Premier League club guilty of inducing Kakuta, then 16, to break a contract with Lens back in 2007.
Chelsea are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the club's chief executive Kenyon has claimed there has been shock at the ban.
Fifa and Uefa both want to outlaw international transfers of players aged under 18, and the bodies have referred to the practice as being akin to child trafficking.
But Kenyon said: "It was something that happened two years ago that was in no way child trafficking.
"I think you've also got to distinguish between the issues."
Kenyon added that Kakuta, now 18 and viewed as France's most promising young player, had also been stunned by Fifa's verdict.
He said: "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."
Kenyon, speaking after a meeting of the European Club Association (ECA) in Geneva, insisted Chelsea would support a ban on the international transfer of players aged under 18.
He said: "This has been talked about for the last 12 months and we have signed up fully to the ECA and UEFA's position, along with FIFA's.
"We need to separate our overall position with the specific case. The fact we are appealing tells you our position."