I am no Chelsea fan, also the full facts are not yet out, but having collected my thoughts it does appear that they may have been rather harshly treated by FIFA. Tapping up adult players under contract is something that should be punished severely, but time and time again UEFA and FIFA have ignored the big Spanish and Italian clubs of doing this, what Chelsea have been banned for this time around is rather different. The Kakuta sage will run and run, Platini always seems to have an opinion where English clubs are concerned and he thinks 'child trafficking' has been going on. The reality is a lot more complex than this FIFA and UEFA spin.
There are plans afoot to ban the movement of under-18 players entirely. I have to say that as often is the case with FIFA and UEFA new rules rushed through in a short sighted and politically motivated manner have the potential to do a lot more harm than good. Martin Samuel argues as much in this excellent article, the case of ASPTT Marsielle is a great example of this bizarre new idea, blanket rules could be very bad for football as a whole.
After all if no one under the age of 18 could move clubs then everyone would continue to play for their local village sides if this was taken to an extreme, the best kids would not get better coaching and would not get to play against the better kids, it would result in an awful system in which talent would perish. Surely kids should be able to move to better clubs that allow them to develop? Just look at the UK rule which means that kids cannot join clubs outside of their 'catchment zone', it means if you are unlucky enough to live a good distance from a decent club then you will be punished and this system has led to the bigger clubs going abroad more often than they otherwise may have done.
If under 18 players had to stay with the same club until they were eighteen, then surely this would give the clubs a massive amount of power over the players, they could effectively enslave them, there would be no incentive to treat them well, is this really in the interests of the young players. It must be remembered that Gael Kakuta and his family have done very well for themselves thus far, they now live in a nice bit of England, not a sh*t hole in France, they are now financially more sorted and he has been given an opportunity to play with some great players in order to develop his talents.
I am no Chelsea fan, but this rush to persecute seems a tad foolish to me. The french pre contract which is signed for players when they are under the age of 16 cannot count legally, and it appears that FIFA's judgement must assume that it does, is something fishy going on here? There is already a loophole that allows 16 and 17 year olds to move as free agents in the EU, and apparently this may be closed fairly soon. I do think that rules are needed to clamp down on just how much can be offered to young players and their families to encourage them to move at so young an age.
If FIFA and UEFA have their way then young players will be tied to their first club, with this system there is a massive potential for dodgy agents and clubs to take advantage by ensnaring youngsters in a completely legal manner and then cashing in when they try to move away. This new system would have much more of a capacity for enslaving children, the current one certainly does not enslave, it may well lead to clubs being unrewarded for their youth products, but these young players are the complete opposite of slaves. A better way to go would be to ensure that the compensation for poaching young talent is much fairer and that the finances of such deals are properly regulated, I am very sure that restricting the movement of young players in such blanket fashion will not be good for either the young players or the game of football.