Chelsea’s Greek Deadlock Made Worse – Threats, Sanctions?

Avram Grant called Chelsea’s performance the “worst performance since he took charge”. Without Frank Lampard in the starting line-up, the midfield looked oddly quiet against Olympiakos who were content to sit back and not muster any attacks against the Blues defense. Didier Drogba looked dejected – not himself – probably due to a African Nations Cup hangover of sorts. Solomon Kalou and Frank Lampard came on with some time to go, but by then the urgency was gone. Chelsea players looked satisfied with an away draw – which against Arsenal/Real Madrid/etc. would have been sufficient. Regardless, the Blues return to Stamford Bridge next week hoping a whiff of home will wake them up. Other developments have done the ‘waking up’ however…

Apparently, Avram Grant received anti-Semitic death threats at Chelsea’s training ground yesterday in the form of a package, with a note, containing a powdered substance that was later deemed to be harmless. The note also threatened Avram’s wife, Tzofit. Grant didn’t open the package as he was in Athens…the training ground, however, was shut down for a while after a staff member opened the note and package saying, ‘You are a back-stabbing Jewish b******. When you open this letter you will die a very slow and painful death.’ Clearly, there aren’t any good words to say about this…

In lesser – but still pretty bad – news, Chelsea is also being ‘told on’ by Serie A’s Reggina. The Blues apparently approached and effectively ‘poached’ Reggina’s most coveted youth prospect, Vincenzo Camilleri – 15 years old. Camilleri was expected to sign for Reggina when he turned 16, but opted to skip a scheduled youth team match and head to London to solidify the deal with Chelsea. Reggina’s chairman Lillo Foti is mostly disturbed with the fact that Camilleri’s move not only robs them of a big talent, but also of all future benefits, etc. He then tries to deflect the economic impact by saying that it could also destroy a young kid’s career, being moved that young, put into a crop of youth prospects all of the same if not better talent levels, etc. This is something that has been going on for a long time and it seems everyone (normally the losing club’s chairman) has a bad taste for it, but yet nothing has been done. Even UEFA’s president Michael Platini denounces it, but nobody really made a fuss about Astrit Ajdarevic’s move from minnows Falkenbergs in Sweden to Liverpool (let alone the WHOLE Liverpool youth movement this past summer). Or Fluminense’s Brazilian ‘whiz-twins’ Fabio and Rafael moving to Manchester United (even though there is an agreement between Fluminense and United). How should these situations be dealt with? Higher premiums for youth players? How do the clubs get properly compensated for such an undetermined loss?

In better news, Paulo Ferreira signed a new 5-year pact with Chelsea, effectively tying the rest of the Portuguese defender’s career to Stamford Bridge.

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