Monday, 7 May 2007

Put Up Or Shut Up

The Telegraph have made a story out of Eggert Magnusson's radio appearance yesterday. They report that the West Ham chairman has told the 'gang of four' clubs threatening to sue the Premier League and/or the Hammers to 'put up or shut up'. Of course, Magnusson never used those exact words but the sentiment is accurate; and it is also apparently shared by Fifa. A story in the Times suggests England could be suspended from international competition and English clubs prevented from playing Champions League and Uefa Cup matches if the "Premier League is taken to court over West Ham United’s use of ineligible players". The fact the players weren't actually ineligible doesn't really matter in this case. Any attempt to involve the courts is expected to receive short shrift from Fifa, which argues that the involvement of state courts in football disputes interferes with the autonomy of the game and undermines the sport’s own arbitration system. Article 62 of the Fifa statutes states: “Recourse to ordinary courts of law is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the Fifa regulations. To ensure the foregoing, the associations shall insert a clause in their statutes stipulating their clubs and members are prohibited from taking a dispute to ordinary courts of law and are required to submit any disagreement to the jurisdiction of the association, the appropriate confederation or Fifa.”

Talking of legal cases, Charlton chief executive Peter Varney believes his club have a right to challenge the Premier League's punishment of West Ham for breaching player ownership rules. Speaking just hours before defeat to Tottenham condemned Charlton to relegation, Varney said: "We are looking at legal avenues. It is clear what the issues are. It is self-evident the four clubs are unhappy but it is an ongoing process and I cannot comment further. We are down at the bottom of the table because of what we have done this season, not because of West Ham but if you see something that has gone on that is not right it is fair to challenge it." Speaking just hours after defeat to Tottenham condemned Charlton to relegation, manager Alan Pardew was not exactly on the same page as his pay masters. "The league table speaks for itself, there's no politics involved, no court cases, this is where it's at," said Pardew. "What we have to do, more importantly, is focus on our last league game and make sure we leave this division with pride." On the question of the Hammers, Pardew remarked: "I'd love West Ham to stay up because there are a lot of people there I love." And possibly a few people there he loves a little too much, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Looking ahead to the Sunday showdowns, and trigger-happy Ted Warnock has predictably fired the first shots in the psychological war. In a paint-by-numbers piece of mind-gaming the Blades boss said he had no doubts that Alex Ferguson would be putting out his full-strength team, irrespective of Premiership titles or an impending FA Cup Final. "At least I know Sir Alex will play a strong side in the last game," he said. "He’s got his pride. He’ll not disappoint. But it’s up to us. I’m proud of my lads. They have performed miracles."

Lastly, if you are of a volatile disposition it would probably be best for your health if you avoid any of the innumerable West Ham related broadsheet columns that popped up today. For some ill-informed Millwank propaganda you can find Danny Baker's utterings here. For Danny Kelly's sickening ode to collusion look here. For Rod Liddle's big-club conspiracy bollocks check here. Treat all three with caution.


David H said...

I would be ashamed to be a supporter of one of the 'gang of four' clubs. Why are they trying to steal a place in the premier league next year via the courts rather than concentrating on playing football!

Fraser said...

Rules are rules, any organisation lives and dies on its rules and regulations. You cannot field an ineligible player and expect no repercussions. Ultimately, the FA are at fault, for initially not dealing with this earlier - a 3 point deduction in January would have been perceived as "fairer". Every other similar transgression of the rules in any of the English divisions has been met with points deductions of varying amounts clear precedents have been set. The FA should have either done it earlier or bit the bullet now. Whelan was right, if the strength of fan's opinions/emotions are paramount the big clubs would be immune to anything!! For Sheffield and Wigan they may not have played well but they at least kept to the rules.

BarrieT said...

The so called gang of four can winge all they want but they continue to ignore the fact over the last nine games West Ham have won seven and lost two matches. Relagation and promotion issues must decided on the pitch. The truth hurts but Wigan are not good enough

Jamie from Wigan said...

David h, the acronym 'lol' does not do justice to the amount that I laughed out loud upon reading your comments.

You talk of the clubs 'stealing' a place in the Premier League, incinuating that they are comitting a crime or breaking the rules in some way. And that I should be ashamed to support a club who is standing up for what is right.

West Ham are the only people who have broken the rules, and the Premiership do not have the bottle to punish them. I just hope that on Sunday, justice is served and West Ham go down.

You are either very deluded, or a complete wind-up merchant.

Anonymous said...

Simple David, because if West Ham stay up which appears likely, it will be thanks in no small part to playing an ineligible player, which is cheating! I think every club in the league have a case for points to be re-instated where Tevez has played against them previous to the 'guilty' verdict, as he will have played without the correct registration. Remember David, precedents have already been set, clubs have been deducted points for similar misdemeanours and in Bury's case, they were thrown out of ther FA Cup. Why should West Ham be treated differently?

The Aussie said...

This timing is quite deliberate and if the clubs involved had anything substantial I would be very surprised if they werent in court already. Hanging such threats over the head of the Hammers and its supporters world wide whilst we dig our way out is just poor form. Put up or shut up boys but dont drag the focus off the pitch unless you are fair dinkum!!!

Howard Sutcliffe said...

David H from Melbourne may have a point about how these 'gang of four' can stay in the Prem Div. But at the end of the day West Ham broke the rules and should have been deducted poimts. The Prem League are pathetically weak to dock points from so called big clubs. If it was Wigan, Reading or similar they would have done. I am independent in this as non of the clubs involved are relevant to me. The only relevance is that I think that football is in the toilet anyway these days. I never go to games, never ever watch England and occassionally only watch 'Match of the Day'.

FloridaJohn said...

As a West Ham supporter I have grave concerns about the possibility of last minute improprieties in the Premiership.

Consider this scenario: Sunday May 13th, Sheffield vs Wigan. Wigan play hard for the win for 85 minutes but don't score. Sheffield play defensively for 85 minutes because all they need to avoid relegation is a draw. With 5 minutes to play and the score 0-0, someone at the Man. Utd. game makes a call to Sheffield on their cell phone to say that Man Utd are 2-0 up on the Hammers with only one minute left to play and then suddenly Sheffield fall apart allowing Wigan to score.

Why is there one minute to play at Manchester but five minutes left at Sheffield ? Well Hello, did anyone notice how many stoppages their were for minor injuries. Did anyone notice that Sheffield and Wigan both used all three substitutes, all coming off the bench separately and at different times ? Has anyone wondered why Sheffield and Wigan would both like their game to finish after the West Ham game ?

If West Ham are losing by a greater margin, Sheffield could "loosen up" even earlier in their game.

What's the motive ? Apart from revenge, if West Ham are not relegated Sheffield and Wigan have both vowed to sue West Ham, the Premiership and the FA because no points were deducted in the ArgieTwins affair. This will cost a kot of money in legal fees, etc. which can be avoided if West Ham go down on Sunday.

How do we alert the FA and have them inform both Sheffield and Wigan that they will be watching them and, if any game fixing is suspected, both clubs will spend next year in League One ? The best solution would be for the FA to require that the start of the Man. Utd. game be delayed for 60 minutes. Is there anything you can do to influence the FA on this ?

bstoke said...

I i think all the relegation teams should just shut up. West Ham are cheaters simple as, yes they should have had points deducted and yes they are lucky not to have, but wigan have played so poor they deserve to be relegated alone on that and sheff utd well they should be relegated for being sheff utd lol.

I am a spurs fan and would take great satisfaction in seeing west ham go down, i think they r lucky beyond belief because with the money earned from tv rights ect in the new season westham will have lost nothing but a points deduction would have been just, but one thing speaks more than anything in football these days MONEY.

Which west ham have no problems with, sadly though west ham will stay up and wigan will go down, but all in all with the way wigan behaved of late they should go down because they have acted like little kids, as soon as they hit the bottom three they were so quick to cry. And talk about taking legal action its sad.

PW said...

What utter nonsense- "it will be thanks in no small part to playing an ineligible player".

What small memories people have. Not long ago it was widely seen and discussed that both Argentinian players had brought such disruption to the club that it was argued that they were much responsible for WH's demise and its present postion. Now he seems to argue that WH are only staying up because of Tevez ? This is the player who didn't score for 15 games and for the majority of the season was a substitute !!
As for Mascherano, he was so good for West Ham that he is now at Liverpool !

It is by no coincidence that it is ony recently that the 'Gang of Four' have whinged about the result when they realise that WH have a chance of staying up and it is them that may be relegated. We never heard a sound when WH were 10 points adrift. Strange that.

Undoubtedly you could say that the Premier Leagure should not have waited so long to decide.

C-Christopher said...

West ham have broken the rules hence the 5 millon pound fine.
But they should have had 3 points deducted like other clubs who broke the same rules.
So next year you are in the bottom 3 so you sign 2 players on a deal thats a bit dodgy and play them. because it would a fine not a points deduction..
they are now called a gang of 4 to put them in there place and ridicule them.
The fans are not stupid they can se what the premier league are up to.

Roman B said...

It has been the Premier League that have dragged out the issue until now in the hope that West Ham's fate would have already been sealed. They could then have appeared to take the correct route of deducting points with no consequences. This issue was brought to light in January and has taken months to get to this stage, similary the issue of underhand agreements regarding Tim Howard playing for Everton against Manchester United was swept under the carpet within a few days (See other Times report today)! The focus is still fully on West Ham and the Premier League I'm afraid!

Russ (Blades fan) said...

David H - you miss the point. Those 4 clubs believe that;

1) West Ham have stolen a place in the premier league by fielding an ineligible player (from whose appearances they have benefited).

2) West Ham have been given a special dispensation - and not punished according to the "normal" regulatory standards of English football -i.e. a points deduction.

3) If they had committed the same office they wouldn't have been treated the same way as West Ham.

4) That the reasons given for the form of the punishment go some way to proving that West Ham have been given special and favoured treatment.

Those clubs are trying to play football - by the rules - in order to survive. They have accumulated sufficient points already to survive, since West Ham currently have a greater points total than they should have because; a) without Tevez they'd have floundered - debatable and b) with him they've acquired points illegally - a matter of fact.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Russ for perfectly illustrating my point.

1) The players were never ineligible. That was not West Ham's crime.

2) There is no precedent of a points deduction for the rule breach they pleaded guilty to.

3) There is no evidence that Wigan of Sheffield would have been treated differently, so this assertion only serves to make them look more petulant.

4) The reasons given suggest West Ham have been given special treatment becasue they owned up to a breach by the former management team. Do people who plead guilty in a court of law get a lighter sentence than those who contest charges? Perfectly normal and fair given that it the new board weren't responsible. Oh and by the way there is a precedent for that!

I would have no problem with this issue being debated if the anti-West Ham brigade could at least understand what the crime was.


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