West Ham’s troubles with Wigan and Sheffield United are far from over

What do we really know about this whole Tevez / Mascherano / MSI mess?

We know that MSI had a deal in which they could terminate the contracts of Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez in the January transfer window for set prices (2m for Tevez, 150k for Mascherano).

We also know that there was never a problem with the players’ registration, but instead the problem was with West Ham lying to the Premier League about this agreement with the MSI.

West Ham did two things wrong – they agreed to a deal that was against rule U18 (explained below) and they lied to the Premier League (breaking rule B13).

Rule U18 states: “No club shall enter into a contract which enables any other party to that contract to acquire the ability materially to influence its policies or the performance of its team.”

Rule B13 states: “In all matters and transactions relating to the league, each club shall behave towards each other club and the league with the utmost good faith.”

From my understanding, this is a grey area whose interpretation depends on the biases of the commission selected to deliberate over this matter. The players’ registration with West Ham was fine – and technically, it’s not the players’ registration that is to be questioned.

However, West Ham’s role in this MUST be questioned and because it took so much time to decide this matter (it came to light when the Mascherano transfer to Liverpool happened in January, so technically it should have been dealt with by Feb), relegation-threatened clubs are furious with West Ham and the Premier League.

And it is still doubtful whether MSI agreed to the quick change in agreements and today David Whelan has asked the Premier League to confirm whether everything is as they say it is.

Earlier I said that West Ham’s rivals weren’t good enough to stay up on their own. I stand by that, but what got lost in that post was the fact that yes, West Ham did do something wrong and yes, they did deserve more than a fine.

Question is, now that the clubs cannot take any legal action against the Premier League, will they go after West Ham?

Wigan probably will, seeing that Sheffield United need a minimum draw to survive and Wigan need a win (plus they need West Ham to lose). Sheffield United are in the same boat so they’ll have a big grudge as well.

Fulham, Charlton and Boro are reputed to be with Wigan and Sheffield but ultimately it could be just those two fighting West Ham in the courts. Damages claimed could be 30m and to expect West Ham to pay that sort of money is ridiculous but it could very well turn out this way.

Legally, the Premier League has no grounds or precedent on which to base their decision not to fine West Ham. It could be West Ham’s high profile that saved them, or it could be a blundering Premier League who just messed things up and are now hellbent on backing themselves.

If this goes to court, West Ham will be in an unnecessary legal brawl. But if they survive this season AND the next, they’ll have the cash to deal with such court cases, no?

[Source: BBC]

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  1. john 10 May, 2007
  2. Al 10 May, 2007