Agent charged over Cole 'tapping-up' affair

April 7, 2006

The Football Association have charged agent Jonathan Barnett following his alleged involvement in an illegal meeting between Arsenal full-back Ashley Cole and Chelsea.

Barnett represents England international Cole, who was fined £75,000 for breaking Premier League rules by discussing a transfer to Chelsea in January 2005. Chelsea and their manager Jose Mourinho were also fined.

'Mr Barnett has been charged by the FA with a breach of FA rule E1(e) which covers breaches of the rules of leagues affiliated to the FA,' read a statement from the FA.

'It is alleged that he brought about a breach by Ashley Cole of Premier League rule K5 which relates to illegal approaches to clubs by players under contract.

'He has also been charged with a breach of the FIFA players' agents code of conduct, which require agents to respect the rights of third parties, in this case Arsenal FC.'

Barnett has until April 20 to respond to the charge.

It was first reported in January 2005 that Cole, Mourinho and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon met at the Royal Park Hotel in London.

An investigation was launched after the investigation, with charges brought against Chelsea and Cole.

Chelsea's `super agent' Pini Zahavi was also alleged to have been at the meeting, as was Cole's representative Barnett.

However, neither Zahavi nor Barnett fall under the jurisdiction of the Premier League and therefore could not be punished.

After the Premier League issued their fines they said in a statement: 'We recommend that the responsible bodies concerned should investigate the roles of Pini Zahavi and Jonathan Barnett.'

Cole is still at Arsenal and has since signed a contract extension, although he is currently sidelined through injury.