Can't turn the tap off
Scott Minto says Chelsea's transfer ban is "extremely harsh" because tapping-up is rife in football.
Last Updated: 03/09/09 4:44pm
Scott Minto believes the transfer ban handed out to Chelsea is "extremely harsh" because tapping-up is rife in football.
FIFA has banned Chelsea from registering any new players in the next two transfer windows after French clubs Lens made an official complaint over the Blues' signing of Gael Kakuta in 2007.
As a result, Carlo Ancelotti's side have been banned from signing players over the next two transfer windows, which means they will not be able to bring in any new faces until 2011.
The punishment appears to relate to the issue of tapping-up and Minto insists it is something that goes on frequently in the professional game.
"You'd think that all clubs do it," he told Sky Sports News.
"Players have come out and said in their books that they were tapped up. We know it goes on at all levels, not just the highest level, so I'm really surprised.
"On the face of it, it looks extremely harsh and you wonder whether FIFA are trying to hit a big club.
"People do speak to you through third parties and ask if you would be interested. I didn't get an agent until I was 23, but beforehand I got phone calls from people saying 'would you be interested in this club?'
"You get phone calls and you are asked certain questions. As a player I don't think there's too much of a problem. We know it goes on all year around and maybe FIFA need to change the rule book.
"I don't see how you can stop it. Even if this ban stays, are you telling me other clubs throughout the country and throughout Europe are not going to do it? I think they will."
Minto feels Chelsea will appeal the decision but he is confident that the Blues' squad is strong enough to be able to cope if the punishment is imposed.
However, he insists the team may suffer if they are not able to replace a number of key players who will be playing in the African Nations Cup in the New Year.
"That's a worry Chelsea have had over Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and Didier Drogba since they signed for the club," said Minto.
"In January Chelsea might have looked to get somebody in, whether that's in terms of buying or getting somebody on loan.
"The fact that they can't do that will be a blow. You look at the spine of the team, it's John Terry and Frank Lampard - then Essien and Drogba. When those two are gone there will be problems.
"Ancelotti knew this at the start of the season and he's happy with the squad. He knew come January that these players would go and maybe he feels he's got the squad to handle it."
Minto also gave his opinion on the young player at the centre of the scandal, suggesting Kakuta is currently the most promising young player at the club.
"Gael Kakuta is a very good player, he's a big talent," Minto added.
"He's 17-years-of age and he played in the reserves for Chelsea this week, setting up one of the goals.
"I think it's another two, maybe three years before he'll really be considered for the first team in terms of a regular, but he's got a good chance.
"Chelsea have been spending a lot of money on the youth team. When Abramovich first came in they spent a lot of money on getting big players in, but now they want to see players coming through the youth academy - whether they're English or not.
"For me, Gael Kakuta is the star of the academy at the moment. He's a big talent."