THE LONG-RUNNING tapping saga involving Arsenal defender Ashley Cole, Chelsea’s José Mourinho and Peter Kenyon, as well as an agent, has finally come to a conclusion.
Arsenal Football Club, who originally made the complaint to the Premier League that Chelsea were trying to steal their England star, then asked for the decision to be delayed until after the FA Cup Final, which they duly won.
Last week, judgement was pronounced. All parties involved were guilty. Cole was fined 140,000 euros for speaking to another team without permission while under contract, Mourinho was hit with twice that amount for his “blatant disregard” for codes of managerial behaviour, and Kenyon and Chelsea were ordered to pay 420,000 euros and threatened with a three-point deduction, should the club make any further illegal approaches to players in future. Big numbers but, in reality, peanuts (equivalent to a week’s wages for those concerned).
The Premier League had to act, but shied away from antagonising one of its chief attractions. On top of its reluctance to meet out meaningful punishment, the most guilty party of all, super agent Pini Zahavi, did not fall under the committee’s jurisdiction. He got away scot free.