Tapping up’ case goes to Lausanne

Ashley Cole lodges appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport

Ashley Cole’s solicitor has announced that an appeal against the decision of the FA Premier League has been lodged on the footballer’s behalf with the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In June 2005 the Arsenal and England left back was found guilty of a breach of rule K5, which prohibits a contracted player negotiating with another club without the written permission of his current club. This guilty verdict followed a meeting at a London hotel in January 2005 between Cole and the manager of Chelsea FC, Jose Mourinho. Chelsea’s Chief Executive Peter Kenyon was also present at the meeting.

Ashley Cole was fined £100,000 for his offence. Chelsea were fined £300,000 for “tapping up” the defender in breach of Rule K3, and Jose Mourinho was fined £200,000 for his role in the affair.

On appeal the Premier League appeals committee reduced Cole’s fine by 25% to £75,000. Jose Mourinho’s fine was also reduced to £75,000.

Cole’s solicitor, Graham Shear, has been reported as saying that his client feels that he has done little, if anything, which is wrong and for this reason he is not satisfied with the outcome of his appeal before the committee.

Giving evidence in the High Court in June at the trial of the libel claim brought against him by Harry Kewell, Gary Lineker agreed that the purpose of the anti-tapping up rules was to enforce a player’s duty of fidelity to his contracted club.

But Cole and his legal team are likely to seek to argue before CAS that the punishment meted out to Cole for breaching Rule K5, or the very existence of the rule, constitutes an unreasonable restraint of trade.