Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has insisted the club's controversial signing of teenager Gael Kakuta was not "child trafficking".
The London club have been banned by FIFA from making any new signings for two transfer windows after being found guilty of inducing Kakuta to breach his contract with Lens in 2007, when the winger was 16. Chelsea are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, and Kenyon said there had been shock throughout the sport at the ban.
FIFA and UEFA both want to outlaw international transfers of players aged under 18, and Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have referred to the practice as being akin to "child slavery" and "child trafficking", but Kenyon said: "It was something that happened two years ago that was in no way child trafficking. I think you've also got to distinguish between the issues."
The Chelsea chief executive added that Kakuta, now 18 and viewed as France's most promising young player, had also been stunned by FIFA's verdict.
He added: "He wants to play his profession, which is football.
"We need to take account for that and understand this is something that happened two years ago, and make sure we've got enough support around him to ensure he's fully supported at a difficult time."
Kenyon, speaking after a meeting of the European Club Association (ECA) in Geneva, insisted Chelsea would support a ban on the international transfers of players aged under 18.
He said: "This has been talked about for the last 12 months and we have signed up fully to the ECA and UEFA's position, along with FIFA's.
"We need to separate our overall position with the specific case. The fact we are appealing tells you our position."
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