Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Political Machinations

I've been putting this off but it really is time to update the Carlos Tevez situation. The thing seems to change course by the minute so by the time I finish typing this everything could be very different, although probably no nearer a satisfactory resolution. The Guardian reports that Manchester United's pursuit of the player has edged closer to the courts over the last 24 hours after the Premier League rejected an attempt by MSI to cancel his registration with West Ham United. The Premier League also rejected a personal letter from Tevez in which he notified them that he was terminating his contract with the London club. Naturally, The Premier League refused to countenance both Tevez's letter and MSI's request on the grounds that it does not consider that MSI have any rights over the player's registration, having been informed by West Ham that the club has torn up its agreements with MSI.

In a separate move, it has also been revealed West Ham have themselves rejected two written requests to cancel Tevez's playing contract. Sources claim two letters, one from Tevez and the other from his management team, arrived at Upton Park yesterday in an attempt to kick-start the transfer to Manchester United. West Ham pointed to last Friday's statement by chairman Eggert Magnusson saying: "Carlos Tevez is a registered West Ham player, contracted to the club until June 2010. There is no agreement with West Ham for Carlos Tevez to leave the club." West Ham are aware that if they do anything contrary to the Premier League's instructions they could be left open to further disciplinary action over third-party agreements. The Premier League are concerned that any weakening in their determination, that West Ham United should receive most of the proceeds from the transfer, would provide Sheffield United with fresh ammunition to pursue their case against the League for not establishing whether the agreement was terminated.

The Times suggest there is a growing feeling among certain factions that the Premier League has been intervening to protect its position. Gary Jacob states that the three parties involved in the negotiations all feel that a legal and satisfying deal can be obtained but the interference of the League means the FA is now expected to be asked to act as arbitrator to oversee Carlos Tévez’s move to Manchester United. FA Officials are already said to be monitoring the situation and are in close contact with the Premier League. The FA have the power to take action but will only get involved in the dispute in response to a specific request. Jason Burt, writing in The Independent, insists that United, West Ham United - Tevez's current club - and MSI, the company which claims to hold the player's "economic rights" have all already approached the FA to try to push through the transfer. If they do not receive a favourable response the parties are also ultimately threatening to go to FIFA, football's world governing body. It is unclear, suggests Burt, what jurisdiction either the FA or FIFA would have over the Premier League on the issue of player's registration and the payment of transfer fees.

For their part, FIFA say they may be prepared to step in an attempt to settle the transfer dispute - but they have yet to receive any official request to do so. A FIFA spokesman said: "We have not received any official request from any of the parties involved so far. If we do receive a request we would then decide whether we have to look at it or if it is up to the FA to rule on it. The FA could also ask us for guidance and send us all the relevant information." According to the Mail, that request could be imminent. They claim Tevez's representatives - led by businessman Kia Joorabchian - are ready to report the matter to FIFA who are the ultimate regulators of transfers. The world governing body could be asked to rule if Tevez should be allowed to cancel his contract with West Ham - which has three years still to run - in order to join United. "Any party can send a case to FIFA as long as they can prove it is related to an international transfer," confirmed the spokesman. "FIFA can request documentation from all parties involved and decide whether to look into the case or if it is a matter for the Football Association." One problem for Joorabchian, suggest the Mail, will be proving the Tevez deal is an international transfer. Although he is likely to argue the move involves United dealing with a third party not based in the UK, the Premier League will say the transfer is a domestic deal between the Manchester club and West Ham.

The moves by MSI to free up the player to join Manchester United came as it emerged that the Old Trafford hierarchy has categorically ruled out paying West Ham anything for the player as they do not consider that the London club are his owners. United are satisfied that West Ham have no rights over Tevez and think that Tevez's registration will transfer to them as they believe that technically the Argentinian forward is a free-agent. United's position, established after talks with MSI, who own Tevez's commercial rights, directly contradicts the Premier League's view. According to The Guardian, United's confrontational stance threatens to undermine the agreement reached between the Premier League and West Ham in April after the club was found guilty of breaking rules governing third-party agreements. On the morning after West Ham were fined £5m for breaching regulation U18 the Premier League board informed West Ham that Tevez could continue playing for them if the offending contract, between West Ham and MSI, was unilaterally terminated by the club. West Ham are bound by undertakings given in a letter to the Premier League following the ruling in which they said the contract with MSI had been terminated. The league also made it clear that it has power of veto over any transfer, and that it would only accept a commercially realistic transfer fee for the player. The league will also not wave through any deal in which Joorabchian was the primary beneficiary. Were they to allow any such deal, or for the transfer to take place without West Ham's approval, it would make a mockery of the assertion that the third-party agreement with MSI was terminated.

The Guardian believe this all leaves legal action in either the civil courts or the Court of Arbitration for sport as the the most likely resolution to the deadlock, and the escape route that would allow all parties to retire satisfied. If, they suggest, the CAS were to assert MSI's rights to receive a fee for Tevez the Premier League would have little choice but to allow the deal to proceed, but would be seen to have defended the integrity of its regulations. West Ham, who had not expected a transfer feel before the league's intervention, would also be happy with such an outcome.

This brings the Carlos Tevez affair right up to date... or at least it did up until a few minutes ago. Sky Sports News are now reporting that Kia Joorabchian's representatives are handing over previously undisclosed documentation to Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe that could 'undermine West Ham's previous defence and strengthen their case against the Premier League'. See you tomorrow then.


Mikey said...

Surely the easiest way out of this is for Tevez to do a west ham.

Just simply tear up the deal he has with west ham and send them a letter explaining they no longer have his registration, simple.

sonny said...

If West Ham was required to tear up the third party agreement in order to allow Tevez to play at the end of last season, then having United negotiate with MSI now clearly shows that they did not do so. In which case the solution is simple: allow the transfer, and relegate West Ham.


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