Captain Terry 'shocked' by Chelsea transfer ban
Chelsea captain John Terry admits it was a "big shock" to learn on Thursday that his club have been banned by FIFA from making signings in the next two transfer windows.
The London side were stunned to learn that the serious punishment had been imposed by world football's governing body after Chelsea were found to have induced young midfielder Gael Kakuta to break his contract with RC Lens in 2007.
Chelsea have pledged to launch the "strongest possible appeal" against the decision and it is expected that the case will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is also currently dealing with a similar punishment handed to FC Sion following their signing of Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary from Al-Ahly in February 2008.
It has been suggested that FIFA's ban will have a highly detrimental effect on Chelsea's title-winning ambitions over the next two seasons, and Terry has conceded that when the news broke on Thursday afternoon he was taken aback.
However, the contentious issue was quickly deemed inappropriate in a press conference that was called by England ahead of the country's friendly fixture against Slovenia at Wembley on Saturday.
"It was a big shock," said Terry, who is expected to start Saturday's game after shaking off a groin problem. "I spoke to the club this morning and they are appealing."
England's fixture against Slovenia has been designed as a warm-up for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Croatia when Fabio Capello's men can secure their place at the finals in South Africa with a victory at Wembley.
Terry is joined in Capello's squad by Chelsea team-mates Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard but the Italian manager is confident that club issues will not distract the players as they prepare for a potentially pivotal week with England.
"No. All the players are focused on the next game," Capello said. "I haven't spoken to the Chelsea players about this."
Having led his side to seven consecutive victories in Group Six, Capello is within touching distance of reaching the finals with a victory over Croatia but the steely Italian has firmly denied that his focus is trained on anything but Saturday's game against Slovenia.
"We haven't spoken about Croatia, we had a meeting on Thursday but we spoke about the game against Holland and the mistakes," Capello said. "On the evening before the game we will speak about Slovenia."
Regarding his selection policy for the Slovenia game, Capello added: "I have to decide the first XI against Croatia. I will have to play the players that will play against Croatia."
Captain Terry was more open regarding the country's upcoming clash with Croatia though, admitting that England have unfinished business with their Group Six rivals having been knocked out of Euro 2008 qualifying by Slaven Bilic's side on a rainy night at Wembley in November 2007.
"It's difficult not to think about it but the manager has emphasised the game on Saturday to get the best out of Wednesday," Terry said. "It was a disappointing night the last time they were here and that is in the back of our minds. But we don't go in with a revenge mentality. It's a chance to put things right where we left off last season."
One Croatia player who will be under the spotlight more than most on Wednesday is Eduardo following a two-game ban imposed on the Arsenal striker by UEFA for 'deceiving the referee' in a Champions League fixture with Celtic.
The incident has sparked a vigorous debate on the spread of diving in British football and Wayne Rooney was forced to deny on Thursday that he was guilty of simulation when winning a penalty in Manchester United's recent victory over Arsenal.
However, Terry is adamant that no England players have indulged in diving, adding: "That is not in our game at all. We come in to play the game fairly. Our mentality is that we are a very honest country and we have an honest bunch of lads here.''