So it turns out Chelsea's inducement of Gael Kakuta to breach his contract was just a big misunderstanding after all.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has lifted the 18-month transfer ban against the Blues after an amicable settlement was agreed with Kakuta's former club Lens.
Chelsea, Lens and Kakuta reached an agreement for an unspecified amount. Estimates range between £800,000 and £2.6 million - not much for a player who has shown immense promise in his early appearances at Stamford Bridge.
You always felt Chelsea were confident of appealing successfully, especially in light of their total inactivity during the recent transfer window.
Where some clubs might have spent like drunken sailors, snapping up every player within a 500-mile radius, Chelsea sat on their hands despite the possibility it was their last chance to bring in new players until summer 2011.
Last September Lens stated, matter-of-factly: "(Chelsea) came and stole (Kakuta) away from us."
Yesterday, they agreed with the outcome "financially and technically" - even though CAS decreed Kakuta's contract "was not valid" - and took time to hail Chelsea as "one of the greatest European clubs."
Something, clearly, has changed, but the private nature of the deal prevents us from knowing exactly what - it just leaves us with unanswered questions.
If Lens are now happy to accept Kakuta's contract was invalid, why did they bother reporting Chelsea to FIFA in the first place? And why did FIFA agree with them?
Equally, having won the initial case, why did Lens subsequently acquiesce so easily? And if Chelsea thought they could win the appeal, why offer Lens anything - why not let justice run its course?
CAS ratified an agreement that Kakuta's contract was not valid, so why merely lift the sanctions? Why not shout from the rooftops that Chelsea were completely innocent and explain why FIFA's original decision was so calamitously wrong?
The thing is, we will probably never know the answer to these questions since details of the agreement are undisclosed and will remain so.
CAS did not even have the chance to reach a decision of their own. The clubs took care of that for them, and all CAS did was rubber-stamp the treaty between Chelsea and Lens.
While the clubs might point out a 'peaceful' solution resulted from diplomacy and their willingness to talk like adults, it hardly a triumph for transparent dealings.
One thing that is absolutely certain is that FIFA look like prize chumps. This was a landmark judgement, supposed to resonate throughout the game.
It intended to herald a new era in which small clubs could stand up to the big boys and prevent their young talent leaving for a relative pittance.
That line in the sand has been washed away - with the help of Lens, originally the 'injured' party.
What started, in their own words, as a crusade to "underlines how important contractual stability is for FIFA and football in general", has ended with a secret deal making all bad blood simply disappear.
Early Doors is not suggesting Chelsea or Lens have done anything underhand - but if they had, how would ED or anyone else know?
A little more openness would shed light on what actually happened, and it might dampen the impression - right or wrong - that big clubs can still make thorny situations disappear by pulling out the cheque book.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Avram Grant's wife Tzofit pricks the papers' pomposity with a staunch defence of her man: "He works so hard, I think he deserves a massage once a day, and from two women, not one. It's not a brothel but a massage parlour. Considering the pressure that Avram is under at Portsmouth, I'm angry with him for not going every day for a massage. Avram loves a massage. He enjoys an Australian massage, a Japanese massage and a Thai massage. I'm looking forward to coming to England to visit and having a massage there with him."
FOREIGN VIEW: Internazionale coach Jose Mourinho has agreed to pay a £11,300 fine to settle a disciplinary case over an altercation with a journalist.
Inter also agreed to pay £17,400 over Mourinho's behaviour after he was charged with insulting the journalist and "gripping his forearms" following the 1-1 draw with Atalanta in December.
"The National Disciplinary Commission upheld the settlement request made by the coach's and the club's lawyers and ordered a fine of 13,000 and 20,000 euros respectively," said an Italian FA statement..
The 47-year-old, who has frequently lamented the grilling he gets from Italian media, said he snapped because the journalist had been standing by the team bus for months despite his protests.
COMING UP: We build up to the weekend with the views of Jim White and Paul Parker, plus comprehensive team news and Fantasy Football tips. And tonight there's minute-by-minute text commentary of Newcastle v Cardiff from 19:45.