Saturday, 14 July 2007

Appetite For War

Carlos Tevez will be unveiled as a Manchester United player on Thursday according to an 'exclusive' by Lee Clayton in the Mail. He will have a medical at the Carrington training ground on Wednesday and then will be pictured in a United shirt and holding a scarf aloft during a showy press conference to confirm his controversial arrival at Old Trafford the following day. It is a move designed to ratchet up the pressure on the Premier League and its chief executive Richard Scudamore, who are so far refusing to sanction the £35million transfer of the Argentina striker. Clayton states that it will be act of defiance, motivated by the belief of United solicitor Maurice Watkins and Tevez's owner Kia Joorabchian, that the deal breaks no rules and there is no legal argument to stop them. A source close to the deal said: "United would not have put themselves in this position if they did not expect the deal to go through. Tevez will arrive as planned and if anyone wishes to stop that they will need to find a legal argument to do so."

According to Jason Burt in The Independent the Premiership champions could be charged with "tapping up"
Carlos Tevez if they continue to push for the striker's £35m transfer without the agreement of the Premier League. He insists that so far Manchester United have done nothing wrong in their attempts to sign the 23-year-old Argentine despite the controversy surrounding the complicated saga. But if Tevez flies into Manchester next week for an official medical, which his adviser Kia Joorabchian said will take place on Wednesday, United could risk the wrath of the Premier League. The organisation maintain that United should be dealing directly with West Ham United, Tevez's current club and the holders of his registration, and not Joorabchian. Yesterday a Premier League source warned that failure to do so could be a breach of their rules and therefore a case of approaching a contracted player without the permission of his employer. The punishments for the offence range from a fine to a ban on transfer activity for up to two transfer windows.

That stance appears perplexing because Joorabchian received an email four weeks ago from West Ham informing him that they would not be taking up the £40m option to buy Tevez. Since then, however, the Premier League have insisted that it is West Ham who have to do the deal and the club maintains it has had no contact with United and that no offer has been made to them. Joorabchian also claims that West Ham have agreed to the deal taking place but the club deny this, declaring that the businessman's actions are "irresponsible", even if, at the same time, club sources have hinted that a breakthrough may come at the beginning of next week; a belief strengthened by the decision arrived at in the High Court yesterday. John Ley, in his article in The Telegraph, quotes a West Ham spokesman as saying: "This is the end of an important chapter in this whole affair. It gives further legal certainty to the situation. Everybody wants to find a sensible solution in relation to the future of
Carlos Tevez. There is more optimism in the air."

The Premier League are still demanding that West Ham stick to the undertakings the club gave after pleading guilty at a disciplinary hearing, that Carlos Tevez became solely their player when it tore up the agreement it had with Joorabchian- and are even threatening to convene a second inquiry - despite concerted pressure from United lawyer Maurice Watkins who has been tasked with sorting out a deal. Ironically Watkins was on the advisory panel that helped draw up the Premier League rules which West Ham then breached. Watkins spent last Friday at the organisation's headquarters but failed to change the minds of its chief executive, Richard Scudamore, or its chairman, Dave Richards. Jason Burt claims there is now an appetite at the Premier League for the issue to go to court so that it serves as a warning to clubs and to businessman against such agreements. That would need Joorabchian to sue West Ham, or indeed the Premier League, if he fails to receive the money he believes is due to him as the holder of Tevez's economic rights. However it also appears that he is intent on concluding a deal that would provoke the Premier League into taking action. The problem with that is that the organisation insists it will not hand over Tevez's registration until it is satisfied.

Joorabchian, meanwhile, released a statement yesterday denying "any wrongdoing whatsoever" after a Brazilian court issued an international arrest warrant over allegations of money-laundering. The warrant relates to an investigation at Brazilian club Corinthians, of which Joorabchian's company MSI is a major investor. Joorabchian insists all his financial dealings, including international transfers, were cleared by the Brazilian Central Bank. "I have co-operated fully with the authorities in Brazil and have previously offered to speak to them directly, an offer that they have not taken up," he said. "The investigation has been provoked by the desire of a small group of individuals in Brazil to gain control over Corinthians Football Club. All payments made to Corinthians by MSI were cleared through and approved by the Brazilian Central Bank. My Brazilian lawyers are instructed urgently to prevent me being personally involved any longer in this dispute. I believe this matter will be resolved very shortly."

Over at the Mirror they think Joorabchian may well be needed in court in England, with West Ham insisting the businessman and his company MSI do not have the authority to take
Carlos Tevez to Manchester United. Darren Lewis says the Hammers are prepared to fight to show they still have control of Tevez's destiny despite Joorabchian insisting Tevez is his player and that he has the documentation to prove it. It is suggested that the Premier League and chief executive Richard Scudamore are now the ones in a compromised position since it was they who gave West Ham the option of unilaterally terminating Tevez's third-party agreement. West Ham simply did as they were asked and came to an agreement with Joorabchian which allowed them to play the striker in their final three games last season. Lewis also believes the Premier League were subsequently made aware Joorabchian was in possession of documents that confirmed his third-party ownership of Tevez, but chose not to act.

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