Temporary reprieve for Chelsea

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LAUSANNE, Nov 6 – International sport's top court on Friday suspended a transfer ban imposed on Chelsea while it rules on a dispute over the signing of French youngster Gael Kakuta.CHELSEA_LOGO"The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has granted the request for a stay filed by Chelsea Football Club Ltd and Mr Gael Kakuta in relation to the decision taken by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber on 27 August 2009," the Lausanne-based court said in a statement.

The English Premier League side had asked for a suspension in a bid to sign new players during the January transfer window.

The arbitrators normally take about four months to rule on cases from the moment they were lodged, in Chelsea and Kakuta’s case on October 22.

That would potentially leave the London side free to take part in the next transfer window between January 1 and 31, 2010.

The ban on signing any new players until January 2011 was imposed by world football’s governing body FIFA in August, when its Dispute Resolution Chamber concluded the Blues had induced Kakuta to break his contract with his first club, Lens.

The Lausanne-based court also temporarily lifted a four month suspension imposed by FIFA on Kakuta pending a full ruling on the case by the arbitrators.

"The FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber imposed, inter alia, a restriction of four months’ ineligibility on Mr Gael Kakuta, and Chelsea Football Club Ltd was banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for the next two complete, consecutive registration periods," the CAS statement said.

"Such sanctions are now stayed until the CAS renders its final decision in this matter," it added.

The court has not yet set a date for a hearing on the case, staff said.

FIFA has been trying to clamp down on the practice of negotiating and making deals with players already under contract with another club, especially those involving youngsters.

Kakuta, who has shone in Chelsea’s reserves, was still a Lens player and only 15 years old in June 2007 when he signed a contract with the English club.

Lens felt that Chelsea came and used their wealth to "steal" a young player that they had nurtured, and complained to FIFA.

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