The old sledgehammer to crack a nut trick. Fifa have ordered Adrian Mutu to pay Chelsea £13.68 million in compensation following his positive test for cocaine while at Stamford Bridge in 2005. There are too many annoying aspects to this act of scapegoating but this appears to be completely lost on Chelsea and their lawyers, who seem to be trying to justify their actions by seeking compensation. Never mind players who do absolutely nothing to justify their transfers/wages (Veron, Crespo, Wright-Phillips, Shevchenko), they are beyond reproach – but one positive test for cocaine and the club throw up their lily-white hands in some kind of moral contempt. Mutu was sacked for breach of contract – oddly, not actually being a great player when they pay £30m+ for you is not a breach of contract – and has since rebuilt his career in Italy.
“This is a very significant decision for football,” says a statement on the Chelsea website. “Not only did the Dispute Resolution Chamber make us a very significant monetary award, it also recognised the damaging effect incidents involving drugs has on football and the responsibility we all have in this area.”
Mutu will probably appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. He signed a new contract with Fiorentina last week, worth a reputed £1.8m per season, due to Fiorentina operating a prudent, entirely un-Chelsea system of salary-capping – Roma were prepared to offer the player double that to sign for them this summer. Certainly, Mutu, and any other sportsman who tests positive for drugs, should have to pay a penalty for such an indiscretion (he already served an automatic ban in the wake of his sacking) but the enormity of this fine is, in the opinion of I Have Grave News, entirely disproportionate. Meanwhile, do have fun up there on the moral high-ground, Chelsea.