Monday, 18 June 2007

Half-Time Report

It is half-time in the arbitration process and both sides have retired for a cigarette and a cup of tea. The first big surprise of the day was the appearance of Rick Parry. The Mail report that the Liverpool chief executive took the stand for Sheffield United as the relegated Yorkshire club launched a desperate late bid to get back their Premiership status. Surprise witness Parry has intimate knowledge of Premier League rules as its first chief executive, and he also handled Liverpool’s difficult signing of Javier Mascherano from West Ham in January, which needed special FIFA approval. It was Parry who first drew attention to the rule breaches which emerged during the process of signing the Argentinian. Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe also appeared as a witness, with Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and general secretary Mike Foster appearing for the other side.

It is in the remit of the panel to order a new disciplinary hearing against West Ham, or award compensation be paid to Sheffield United. An official statement released this afternoon read: "An arbitral panel, made up of Sir Philip Otton, Mr David Pannick QC and Mr Nicholas Randall, is sitting in central London to hear the dispute between Sheffield United and the Premier League board. Sheffield United are represented by Ian Mill QC; the Premier League by Paul Goulding QC. Fulham are represented by Michael Beloff QC.

Sheffield United are asking the arbitral panel to determine two matters. The first is whether the decision by the independent disciplinary commission on April 27 to fine West Ham, rather than dock points, was legally flawed such as to require the issue to be determined afresh by a disciplinary commission at some point in the future. The second is whether the Premier League acted unlawfully by not de-registering Tevez. Fulham are seeking similar relief.

The arbitral panel have no power to decide what the penalty to be imposed upon West Ham should be. This will be within the exclusive remit of the disciplinary commission, if one is convened as a result of the arbitral panel's decision. The arbitration is scheduled for two days and it is expected that proceedings will run into tomorrow. It is not yet known when a decision will be reached."

Upon leaving the hearing today, McCabe said he remained hopeful the panel will make a decision tomorrow. "It's been a busy day," he told Sky Sports News. "Tomorrow there will be further evidence and then the panel will opine and decide. The arbitration is going well and I think the panel recognise all the points of the case. It's about writing the wrongs from the first decision. That's really part of the arbitration proceedings and why we served the notice on the Premier League back in mid-May." Asked whether he was hopeful of a decision tomorrow, the plc chairman said: "I hope so, yes, but it still rests with the panel." Questioned as to whether Parry's appearance as a witness was due to Liverpool's signing of Javier Mascherano from West Ham, McCabe said: "Not particularly. Rick is an experienced football guy. He's a good witness."


Bill said...

Sheffield Utd are stinking hypocrites who will stoop to any depths in a vain attempt to save their PL skins. Contrary to the incoherant ramblings of McCabe and his assorted fellow travellers, this arbitration is not about 'justice' or 'integrity,' it is solely about a second tier club attempting to use a pretext to avoid a well deserved relegation from the first tier of English football.

Sheffield Utd have no proud history, they have not produced any great players nor do they play good football. In short, they bring nothing to the PL table and will not be missed in the slightest next season. Good Riddance to this joke of a 'kick & rush and moan' football club.

The arbitration is wasting everyone's time & money and, when the PL's position is vindicated on Tuesday, Sheffield Utd should be charged for the full cost of staging the arbitration. I am sure the 'Justice in Football'(Sheffield Utd) Campaign would agree whole heartedly (LOL)!!!

Keeble said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Keeble said...

I think Bill will find that Sheffield United (founded in 1889) brought football to this country. He is typical of the hysterical rantings of the new rich in football. A bit like all youngsters believe they invented sex, all the now rich clubs, owned by foriegners who have no idea about the heritage of the english game, believe they are the only ones entitled to play in the "Big League". Get over yourselves and accept that football needs you to be punished properly instead of giving you a mickey mouse fine that wouldn't even pay for your players speeding tickets, lol.

Fordstar said...

Bill, what exactly do West Ham offer the 'PL' these days? It is West Ham who richly deserved to be relegated for cynically breaking the rules, and then lying about it. The subsequent change of administration at Upton Park is irrelevant in my eyes. Without rules and the participants willingness to observe them, sport falls apart. Football is corupt to the core and has long since washed its morals down the drain but could regain some credibilty by docking sufficient points from West Ham and relegating them. That would send a strong message to any other chancers thinking of pulling a similar stunt in the future. And in case you're wondering, I support Manchester City, not Sheffield United (founded in 1889)!

Ritchie said...

This debate is not about who offers something to the PL is it? Clearly any club in the PL offers something and that is to the indivdual clubs fans. CLubs do not deserve to be in the PL becuase they have a rich history, it should be on merit. West Ham are their on merit! Clubs like business's make technical/admin errors often and that is why we have an indusry body (The PL) to govern and hand out punishment if the rules are breached. WHU breached the rules, it is not our fault that the PL only handed us a fine. I suggest that the SUTD fans bleating about the mighty WHU take out their frustration where it is better placed, on the Premier League! And besides, West Ham finished 6th form bottom so I suggest Fulham or Wigan are relegated before us!!

Jezza said...

Sheffield fans. Don't confuse being old with having history.

As a neutral Spurs fan, I know who I would rather see stay & it would be the team that provided 3 world cup winners in 1966.....

Any team that insists on the letter of the law when dealing with other clubs, yet can cling to 'gentlemen's agreements' for themselves should really be asking if their team was fit for purpose last season, not scrabbling about with their dignity & respect amongst others at an all time low.

Do the decent thing & let it lie.

Sheffield Dave said...

Keeble- I think that Sheffield FC ( founded 1857) might have a greater claim to have “brought football to this country”. Or perhaps Hallam FC ( 1860 ) or even Sheffield Wednesday (1867) have a little more to support them in the heritage stakes, just in Sheffield alone.
Given your flawed argument and dubious knowledge, perhaps you’re one of the “new rich in football” yourself?!

Puma said...

Bill, what exactly do West Ham offer the 'PL' these days? It is West Ham who richly deserved to be relegated for cynically breaking the rules, and then lying about it"

This is the whole point. Relegation and promotion should be decided over the course of a season, not in commisions and arbitrations panels. Is that how you wish the league to operate? Are you sure you want us to go the way of leagues such as Italy, where competitions are routinely decided not by final standings, but a sports arbitration panel. That seems to be the precedent you are looking for here, to the detriment of all teams who compete in the PL.

The fact remains that Sheff Utd had 38 games to prove their PL status and failed. However, if you want to indulge in microanalysis of individual situations, its worth asking the question of why Sheff Utd could not even beat Wigan at home on the last day of the season, a team that were in even more poor form than themselves.

I'm sure had they won that match and stayed up, then the incessant rhetoric coming from this McCabe would be somewhat different.

Isn't it also interesting to see how quiet Dave Whelan has gone, now the dust has settled and he can get on with spending his newly aquired TV money...

fordstar said...

Puma- you quoted me, and yes this is the way I want to see the league go. Punish those who break the rules - severely. Didn't the original commission admit that they would have deducted points if the decision had been reached earlier in the season? So West Ham get away with it because the authourities were late investigating? What rubbish. Tevez in particualr played for virtually all of the season and played a major part in keeping them up. If West Ham are not punished, anyone can break the rules with impunity, pay a fine which they can easily afford and get away with it. In these days of billion pound TV deals, only a deduction of points truly punishes wrongdoers. As for relegating Wigan or Fulham, that suggestion is pathetic.


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