Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Confidence Abounds

As predicted yesterday, the FA Premier League has launched a robust defence of its handling of the Carlos Tévez affair, effectively clearing the West Ham United striker to play against Manchester United on the final weekend of the season and warning the “Gang of Four” that their legal threats are doomed to failure. Matt Dickinson, writing in The Times, states the organisation sent out copies of the letters, sent by the League to the rebellious quartet of Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, Charlton Athletic and Fulham, to all twenty Premiership clubs. A missive written by lawyers for the Premier League warns the “Gang of Four” that any challenge to the commission’s findings “would fly in the face of the disciplinary structure that the clubs themselves created and we consider would, as a matter of law, be bound to fail”. The letter also points out that all the clubs agreed to the procedure that brought together a commission of Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, Lord Ouseley and David Dent, the former secretary of the Football League.

A second letter, signed by Sir Dave Richards, the Premier League chairman, and Richard Scudamore, the chief executive, insists that the League has “diligently investigated” Tévez’s present contractual status and continues to do so. "The Premier League made it very clear to West Ham that unless it could be satisfied that all trace of any third-party ability to influence West Ham’s policies or the performance of its team was removed, Tévez’s registration would be terminated," the letter reads. "Assurances were received in a satisfactory form from West Ham. West Ham has assured us that it has terminated the contract. It has also indicated that under no circumstances will it regard the contract as binding on West Ham and that it will defend any proceedings brought against West Ham seeking its enforcement."

While war rages over Carlos Tevez in the corridors of power, the player himself will be in the shop window for future employers at Old Trafford on Sunday. The Argentina striker was an unused substitute the last time the Irons faced Manchester United, but according to a report in The Daily Mail there will be many interested spectators this weekend. Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry unravelled the clauses in the contract lodged with the Premier League to sign Javier Mascherano in January and they have already registered an interest in Tevez. So, too, have Chelsea, but much depends on Jose Mourinho’s spending power in the summer. Mourinho wants a player who can unpick the tightest Premiership defences and he has been impressed with the Argentine's recent contribution to his club’s revival. "If I can play at West Ham in such a difficult position," said Tevez, "it’s easier to play for a bigger club with players such as Rooney, Ronaldo or Drogba. I could play for any English team because the English game is no longer a problem for me."

The Guardian has a story that reiterates Alex Ferguson's desire to play it straight on Sunday. Although he has promised not to field a weakened team, and the declaration will be welcomed by West Ham's rivals, the article suggests it is still highly conceivable Ferguson will keep key players back for the visit to Wembley on May 19. Ferguson's priority is obviously to win his sixth FA Cup and tonight he is likely to start the process of resting senior men such as Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. As a similar piece in the Daily Mirror observes, Fergie will not have forgotten the occasions when West Ham have conspired to deny them the title, most notably in 1995 when United's 1-1 draw at Upton Park handed the title to Blackburn. Whichever players take the field on Sunday, Robert Green remains confident the Hammers can stun United with a shock win. Speaking in The Sun, Green said: "It could be set up for a great performance from us if we go to Old Trafford and play the way we did in the first half against Bolton, iron out the mistakes and keep it solid. There’s no reason why we can’t go there and get a result." Lucas Neill is equally optimistic. "We can go to Old Trafford knowing that any points we get mean certain safety," Neill told the Daily Star. "Manchester United might rest their big guns for the FA Cup final and we can catch them on an off day," added Neill. Shall I tell him or will you? "We have got the belief and now we have put ourselves in a position where we have insurance. Even if we don't win we still have a bit of a safety net. We don't have to look over our shoulders worrying about everyone else now which is nice with one game to go."

Lastly, the Telegraph state 'it is all to play for at the bottom' and offer a breakdown of team news and quotes ahead of the key games. Similarly, The Sun asks 'who will beat the drop?' and provides analysis of the varying scenarios and uses some historical background on previous 'great escapes' to colour the picture.


KenMK said...

I think West Ham should be relegated to Championship. FA league and Premiership has caused mistrust worse than the Italian corruption scandal last year when one of the temas was relegated from Serie A.

West Ham - go down honourably.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Tim Howard situation, the League appear to be planning to legalise, or at least formalise, the arrangement which had already been made. They have already followed this principle with the West Ham Tevez situation. Seems like clubs can virtually make up their own rules and have them ratified by the League. This is a recipe for anarchy in the game if more clubs try their luck. The League needs to demonstrate some leadership, and soon, if it is to retain any credibility.

Austin, London,

s fisher said...

I am not a west ham fan but legal action by 4 clubs at the bottom of the league is terrible they have had their penalty by the FA thats it .Is it the eu next The teams all field 11 players its too late to gripe about their own tactics now . At least west ham are giving us fantastic exciting passion to watch at the end of the season. Thankyou

GK, London said...

Has there ever been a worse case of sour grapes.
The gang of four are/where in the mire for one reason only, they were simply not good enough. same as West Ham. Whelan is the worst (please save my team, the manager couldn't), how pathetic is his attitude and arguement. There is no set punishement for this type of offence. The league judged and opined, end of. Just because you don't like the punishment i.e. it does not save your arse from relegation when your own players could not, does not mean justice has not been done. How convienent Whelan calls for a 10 point deduction - that should provide useless Wigan with enough of a cushionto ensure their safety.
What right does Mcabe have to see confidential documents, none but he clings to the hope that if Sheff U should go down they can use this episode as an "excuse or get out of jail card".

If they put as much effort into producing winning teams as they do looking for fall guy's and excuses they'd be playing Champions league

Wigandave said...

The Premier League have started their PR campaign to discredit the likes of Wigan and Sheffield. Yesterday's comment that their efforts to overturn this injustice were bound to fail is rather like a corrupt political regime attempting to deny its citizens the application of the law.

Everyday that this continues, Mr Scudamore is further discredited. Everybody knows the Prremiership bottled the decision to deduct points from West Ham on the basis that it would relegated them. If they took this decision in January (when it should have been taken) they wouldn't have relegated West Ham, but still applied justice. What kind of country woud we live in if we didn't decide to pusue the truth and justice until we see what effect the crime has on its citizens?

Wigan and Sheffield are the true victims. West Ham should be gone, and all of the efforts to reach promotion to the Premiership by Wigan and Sheffield, and their efforts to stay there LEGALLY, must be rewarded. Scudamore RESIGN!

Anonymous said...

'David from Wigan'? What a surprise to find the rubbish written above. I'm mostly laughing at the reference to the "efforts" of his clearly inadequate team to stay in the Premiership - if they'd made any effort at all they be ok.

As with West Ham, Wigan need to look hard at their season and ask why they are in the bottom three having spent the money they've spent, when last season they could do no wrong.

The ruling's been made, it's nowhere near as bad a match-fixing (Italy) and if Sheffield United do contrive a result by letting Wigan beat them it would serve them right if West Ham got a point at Man Utd and the Blades went down - that's match-fixing.

Tony, London said...

So let me get this straight. It is the fault of West Ham that those in the relegation derby cannot win games? If that is the case then why doesn't everyone sue Manchester United and Chelsea every time they win a game, because it is surely their fault that the other team lost.

Ken, you talk of the Italian league scandal as though it is a mirror image of what is happening here. What happened in Serie A was match-fixing and bribes, nothing like fielding illegal players.

Maybe if the other teams in the relegation battle had performed at the beginning and for most of the season, then they wouldn't be in this predicament.

Therefore I say this about honour...Stop blaming everyone else for your losses.


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