Monday, 30 July 2007

The Compromise

The Carlos Tevez saga could edge closer to a conclusion today with the Premier League's chairman, Sir Dave Richards, apparently having indicated a softer line from his organisation. Central to the recent progress is what should be perceived as the market value of Tevez, which would nominally be upwards of £20million. But meetings took place last week between West Ham United and Richards, in which the Hammers argued that there are several mitigating factors which reduce his value to them; namely the threat of court action and the fact that the player has already declared his desire to leave. Matt Scott, writing in The Guardian, states Richards has indicated a readiness to relinquish the demand that, having torn up the contracts with Media Sports Investment and Just Sports Inc that governed Tevez's career, the club should treat him as their own asset and demand a market-rate fee for him to move to Manchester United.

The Mail suggest West Ham will instead demand £6million compensation from Kia Joorabchian to give up Carlos Tevez's registration and allow him to become a United player. The solution proposed by West Ham would see Joorabchian, through his companies MSI and Just Sports Inc, pay the club money to cover the remaining three years of Tevez's contract. That figure would also cover the fine imposed by the Premier League for a breach of regulations regarding third-party ownership. The article states the Iran-born businessman is currently only willing to pay £100,000 as stipulated in the original deal and that there would appear to be some hard bargaining to be done over the next 36 hours. According to The Sun, there remains little room for negotiation. Mark Irwin insists the £6million fee is not an arbitrary sum but rather the minimum
the Premier League will allow Hammers to be paid for Tevez’s registration to avoid further disciplinary charges.

The Mirror's Martin Lipton believes that while League bosses are likely to agree with West Ham's proposal that would see the East End club given a £5.5million compensation fee to release Tevez's playing registration, their intransigence over the figure will almost certainly collapse the deal. It is his understanding that the proposed offer has already been dismissed out-of-hand by Kia Joorabchian, who is now convinced that the League would be so embarrassed by the outcome of a High Court hearing that they will do anything to avoid the matter going that far. The likely result is an impasse that seems certain in guaranteeing the case will go all the way - and leave Tevez in limbo and with no club to play for until January.

The Times have a different take on things and claim at the end of last week West Ham’s lawyers proposed a settlement which would see the club paid as little as £1 million, stopping the legal action brought by Joorabchian for terminating the controversial third-party agreements setting out his economic rights over the player in April. While Kia Joorabchian and United believe it is wrong that West Ham should receive any fee for a player they do not legally own, they know that it may be the only way to ensure his move to Old Trafford goes through in this transfer window. Graham Shear, the lawyer acting on behalf of Joorabchian, confirmed yesterday that he would consider a settlement which allows the player to start the new Premiership season with United.

The Guardian reiterate that the Premier League would have to be satisfied that West Ham have received 'adequate' compensation to head off any further litigation by Sheffield United. The league's board - Richards, the chief executive, Richard Scudamore, and the general secretary, Mike Foster - will meet today to discuss any new proposal. It is envisaged that the offshore companies would then be permitted to receive a transfer fee from Manchester United, with whom terms have been agreed on the prospective move, which could be closer to his market value. Any deal will be approved only if Richards can persuade Scudamore - who handed over responsibility for the talks to his chairman before flying to Hong Kong for the Asia Trophy last week - and Foster of its effectiveness.

If all parties cannot agree a fee then a date in the High Court beckons on Wednesday after Joorabchian, who has insisted that he still holds the economic rights to the Argentine striker, issued a writ in an effort to force the Hammers to give up the player's registration. If court action is forced, states The Guardian, Tevez could spend the first five months of the season on the sidelines while lawyers debate who owns him. Should the courts decide after the start of the season that the contract that prevails is held by MSI-JSI and not that registration document held by West Ham, then in principle there is nothing to prevent his move to Old Trafford with the companies taking the money. However, should they find in favour of West Ham, he would not be able to move until the January transfer window when West Ham would be the sole beneficiary of any fee.

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