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Football: AT IT AGAIN; Spurs fury as Chelsea accused of 'tapping' Arnesen in new row.


THE controversy surrounding Chelsea's conduct escalated yesterday following claims of an illegal approach for Tottenham sporting director Frank Arnesen.

Spurs have suspended Arnesen and are considering what action to take after claiming their London neighbours made an approach 'in direct breach of FAPL rules', while Chelsea insist their advances were official.

Chelsea, the Barclays Premiership champions, were fined earlier this week and given a suspended three-point deduction for their role in an illegal meeting with Arsenal full-back Ashley Cole.

The points deduction will be activated if a similar offence occurs in the next season, although rule K3 which they were punished for applies to 'contract players' and Arnesen is a sporting director.

The Premier League are yet to receive a complaint from Spurs officials about the alleged approach to Arnesen.

'We have not received an official complaint,' said Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson. 'We wait to see the action Tottenham wish to pursue.'

Action is now being considered by Spurs' legal team, following Arnesen telling officials he wishes to move to Chelsea.

A statement on the Spurs website,, read: 'Chelsea Football Club has made an approach to sporting director, Frank Arnesen, in direct breach of FAPL rules.

'This approach was made both prior to requesting permission and without permission from the club. Tottenham Hotspur Football Club refused permission for any discussions to take place.

'Notwithstanding that he is subject to contract and holds wide-ranging responsibilities and commitments to all parties at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, Frank has indicated that he wishes to move to Chelsea Football Club. Accordingly, the Board of Tottenham Hotspur plc has suspended Frank Arnesen with immediate effect.

'The club is currently in discussions with its legal advisors and a further announcement will be made in due course.'

Chelsea, however, insist they made an 'official' approach for Arnesen.

The move is the latest in a number incidents involving the west London club, including the meeting with Cole, which led to a record fine, and an accidental meeting between chief executive Peter Kenyon and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.

A Chelsea statement released to the Press Association read: 'Chelsea Ltd made an official approach to Tottenham Hotspur for permission to speak to Frank Arnesen two weeks ago.

'Chelsea Ltd has been in direct discussions with Tottenham for the last two weeks on this subject.'

Arnesen arrived at White Hart Lane last year after a successful spell with Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.

Although head coach Jacques Santini left the club three months into the season - later claiming his relationship with Arnesen was strained - Spurs appeared to be making progress under Arnesen and new boss Martin Jol Arnesen brought a raft of new signings to the club and Spurs only just missed out on qualifying for the UEFA Cup through their Premiership finish, although they will find out today if they enter the tournament through their disciplinary record when the UEFA 'fair play' draw is made.

The suspension of Arnesen has shocked Spurs fans, with Daniel Wynn of the Tottenham Supporters' Trust telling Sky Sports News: 'I'm as stunned as everyone else. It's one step forward and two back with this club at the moment.

'We'd had a much better season and there were signs of improvement.'

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 5, 2005
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