Thursday, 31 May 2007

Don't Believe The Hype

A rap burgler, false media
We don't need it do we?
It's fake that's what it be to 'ya, dig me?
Don't believe the hype...
The Premier League AGM starts today in London and Paul Kelso believes it will be the liveliest in the organisation's history. With Wigan's chairman Dave Whelan absent on holiday and an arbitration panel set to hear Sheffield United's objections to the failure to deduct points from West Ham in a fortnight, anger over the Tevez affair may not be raised directly, but the issues it threw up will be on the agenda. Writing in his Guardian column, Kelso states that clubs will be asked to approve the inclusion of the controversial rule banning third-party influence in players' contracts to avoid confusion in future, and the chief executive, Richard Scudamore, will canvas views on the anomaly in the loan system that many felt was abused in the case of Tim Howard. A new distribution system for television money will also be discussed. The enhanced TV deal kicks in next season, and with Setanta and Sky competing for the best games there are concerns that less popular clubs will miss out on the 25% share distributed in facility fees for appearing on TV. A compromise will see clubs guaranteed a minimum of 10 "facility fees" - around £5m.

The League require a minimum of 14 votes to change or amend any of their regulations and will seek to make Rule U18 more transparent and so avoid any repeat of the Tevez controversy. Scudamore believes Rule U18 should be made clearer, leaving clubs in no doubt that 'side contracts' regarding the future sale of players owned by third parties should be declared at the time of signing. A Premier League spokesman said: "We are aware of the increasing phenomenon of more South American players being involved with clubs on loan agreements so we will be seeking to make this particular rule more explicit."

The Daily Mail believe Scudamore could be challenged to a live television debate on the Carlos Tevez affair when the meeting convenes. Wigan, Sheffield United, Charlton and Fulham are still threatening legal action against the Premier League in the row over the eligibility of the Argentine striker to play for West Ham, and the so-called 'Gang of Four' are considering the stunt to put pressure on the chief executive. The proposal would have to be tabled by either Wigan or Fulham as neither of the other two aggrieved parties will be invited to the AGM. Sheffield United, who are still refusing to relinquish their 'share' in the Premier League, are expected to turn up for the meeting but in all likelihood will be denied entry and told to request a separate hearing.

Elsewhere, Alan Curbishley has told fans to ignore the heightening transfer speculation in the press. The club has been linked to a series of high-priced targets including Eidur Gudjohnsen, Craig Bellamy, Darren Bent, Tal Ben-Haim and Ecuadorian Carlos Tenorio, with up to a dozen players speculated to be leaving the Hammers in the summer in what has been quoted as a £40m squad overhaul. Curbishley said: "People are assuming and just writing what they want. Of course there will be some changes, there are at every club in the summer. But you have to be sensible and a lot of what is written is just speculation. I am sitting down with the chairman almost everyday and we will do the right thing for this club. As I have said in the past, you will know who's coming in when they're here sitting beside me. That's how I do business."

With than in mind, I probably shouldn't bother mentioning that most of the country's media have gone to town on Scott Parker related stories this morning. The Times say the club are at the head of the queue for the Newcastle skipper, with a £8million fee having been offered. Tottenham are also thought to be interested but have baulked at the player's high wages. The article also states West Ham have told Anton Ferdinand and Bobby Zamora that they will not be allowed to leave. Ferdinand, the defender, has not always seen eye-to-eye with Alan Curbishley and is wanted by Tottenham and Newcastle. But Ferdinand’s blossoming partnership with James Collins persuaded his manager that he has a future at Upton Park. The Daily Mail insist the price for Parker is actually £7million and that the player is set to meet with West Ham officials today after the two clubs agreed a fee. It also reports that chief executive Scott Duxbury was involved in late-night talks with Parker's representatives after Tottenham had declared their interest in the Newcastle captain. The Sun push the price up to £8.5million and suggest that while Parker is heading to Upton Park, another target in Mark Viduka will not be following suit. The Mirror agree with The Sun over the size of the fee and add that Parker's arrival will hasten the departure of Hayden Mullins, with Alan Pardew showing an interest in the player who was his first signing as West Ham boss.


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