Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Verdict Delivered

The arbitration panel examining the decision to fine West Ham United for breaching Premier League rules have upheld the original verdict. Sheffield United had wanted the panel to order a new disciplinary commission to deal with West Ham but had their claim dismissed today. The club also lost another claim - made jointly with Fulham - that the Premier League should have forced West Ham to de-register Tevez. A statement from the arbitration panel read: "The tribunal have found in favour of the FA Premier League on both issues and dismissed the claims of Sheffield United FC and Fulham FC."

The ruling from the arbitration panel said Sheffield United would not normally have been allowed to dispute another club's punishment but that there were "exceptional circumstances" due to their relegation and therefore affected their membership of the Premier League. The tribunal said they had "sympathy" with the Blades, while West Ham had been "deliberately deceitful" and yet remained in the Premier League. They could not, however, rule that the independent commission's decision had been wrong. The panel's ruling states: "Ian Mill QC [representing Sheffield United] mounted a strong attack on the legality of the decision and the tribunal had much sympathy for Sheffield United's grievances. However the tribunal had to apply the principles of judicial review and determine whether the decision was irrational or perverse. This is a very strict test and is very difficult to satisfy. It concluded that it was impossible for this tribunal to find that the decision was irrational or perverse."

In relation to Sheffield United's and Fulham's claim that the Premier League should have immediately terminated Tevez's registration, the tribunal ruled that they had acted reasonably in allowing the Argentina striker to continue to play for the last three games of the season. The ruling says: "The offending third-party agreements still existed and the FAPL endeavoured to seek assurances from West Ham that they were no longer valid and effective. These were sought on April 27 and again on May 4. As a result of the assurances given the FAPL permitted the registration to stand. The tribunal concluded it was not unreasonable for the FAPL board to reach that conclusion in the light of the assurances given that the third parties were not able 'materially to influence the West Ham's policies or the performance of the team'. The arrangement may not have been legally watertight but was a practical and workable solution to a difficult situation. It is to be doubted that the FAPL (or anyone else) foresaw the spectacular results of the last three matches which saved West Ham from probable relegation."

Sheffield United have said they are now "considering the findings with professional advisors" after the decision. "We are pleased that the tribunal rejected the Premier League's contention that we were not entitled to challenge the disciplinary decision," read a club statement. "We note that the tribunal, in response to that challenge, decided not to overturn the disciplinary commission's decision despite concluding that they would, in all probability, have deducted points from West Ham had they been hearing the case for themselves. We are obviously very disappointed by this conclusion, in particular in circumstances where the tribunal recognised that the outcome of the decision turned out to be, in the panel's own words, unfortunate in the extreme and that Sheffield United have done nothing wrong to merit this outcome. We are at current considering these findings with our professional advisors. It would be inappropriate to comment further until we have had time to consider the reasons the tribunal have given for this decision."

West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson welcomed the decision. "We are happy that this matter is finally closed and all parties can now move on," he said. "The arbitration panel's decision is very clear and reflects what we have believed all along. West Ham United have been preparing for next season in the Premier League since the final whistle at Old Trafford in May and we will continue to do so. I would like to reiterate that Carlos Tevez is a registered West Ham United player with a playing contract that still has three years remaining on it, and that situation remains unchanged."

The Premier League were the last to comment when they released the following response this evening: "The Premier League welcomes the conclusions of the Arbitration Panel and respects the judgment and commentary they have published today. The panel confirmed that throughout this complex and unprecedented case the Premier League followed the process laid out in our rules and behaved reasonably at all times. The Panel also understood that this was a difficult situation, exacerbated by the fact that decisions were being made against the backdrop of the climax to the 2006/07 season. Sir Phillip Otton and his colleagues on the Panel held that the Premier League acted in accordance with its rules and procedures throughout, including the appointing of the Independent Commission to hear the original case. They also held that the Independent Commission’s original decision was neither irrational nor perverse and that the Premier League Board’s subsequent actions were reasonable and provided - in the Panel’s own words - “a practical and workable solution to a difficult situation”. The Premier League recognises that, even by football’s standards, we have been faced with circumstances that were unusual, unexpected and controversial. Our role as the Board of the Premier League is to face these challenges and act at all times in accordance with the powers described in our rules."


Davey said...


I think it's pretty obvious to all those with a unbiased view!!

West ham should have been deducted points and should have gone down, sheff utd should have stayed up. [it was a gutless decision and the precedent has been set for the future]

after that fatal error it was only going to be one verdict today
i mean for god sake next seasons fixtures our out.

at the same time sheff utd failed to pick up enough points at end of season so no-one to blame but themselves as tevez barely contributed for west ham when he was an illegal player anyway,

Teddy said...

Ok... on a serious note I'd like to try to take this argument away from the sensationalism of it's reportage in recent weeks.

Football is by it's very nature partisan and it is unlikely that any Sheffield United surporter is going to agree with this decision. However, as a barrister specialising in the financial irregularities of what is now the footballing industry, I must say that the decision was a just and legal one. Interestingly... I might also supplement this qualification with the fact that I have recently submitted my thesis for a doctorate in moral philosophy at the open university.

Let me explain... According to English Law, the plaintif (ie. ecuts plasmicus in this case) has an 'on bono' obligation to present the court with a 'harius morus' incriminating the accused. Failure to do so stipulates the 'gaeus destructum' of the principle action.

Translating the above... the Legal ownership of the Player, Tevez, is not the bone of contention. Once West Had proved beyond doubt that they were 'right and proper' affiliates of the Agent, then the player was consequently the legal property of Eggnus Magnuseggson. Sheffield United will be aggreived... But they will also still be Sheffield united... which is punishment enough.

I rest my case

Geoff said...

I have just read the summary (the full ruling is not out yet)and essentially it says, reading between the lines, that it was a daft decision but not quite daft enough to meet the irrational or perverse test which the Arbirtration Panel had to apply. So a moral victory for the Blades but Championship football. West Ham, the Premier League and the incompetent initial panel must be very relieved.

Stavros said...

Given West Ham broke a rule that meant a 3rd party had undue influence over them (in relation to any sale of Mascherano or Tevez) I believe that a fine was the correct course.

In my opinion it is completely unreasonable in my opinion to suggest that there was any undue influence on West Ham's performance on the pitch - the undue influence was off the pitch. Therefore, it had nothing to do with how Tevez or Mascherano played because the only way the 3rd party (Joorbachian) could have any undue influence on the pitch is to get Tevez & Mascharano to throw the games, which would have benefited Sheffield United.

DB said...

TEVEZ WAS LEGALLY REGISTERED WITH WEST HAM!!! If he hadn't been, points deduction would have been appropriate. But, the media chose to misreport the story to such an extent that thos most vociferous in their support of Sheffield Utd hardly even know what they are supporting!
Oh, and that's Sheffield Utd, who seemed to be exerting their own '3rd party influence' in the Steve Kabba transfer. People in glass houses....

Symbol said...

The premier league was wrong- everyone (even the panel)acknowledges it. they have just been cleared from being perverse, i.e. they made a bad decision in just fining west ham, but it wasn't bad enough to be completely wrong.

The arbitration panel was not sitting on an appeal- it was looking at a very narrow legal technicality, and if your report is correct have hinted they believe it was a terrible decision but not bad enough for them to rule against it.

I just hope west ham break Sunderland's record this season and would recommend boycotting eggerts biscuits if I knew which ones they were.

I don't even like sheffield that much but west ham really should have been relegated a division for their behaviour in this saga- let alone their poor play on the pitch last season.

Harper said...

I can't stand SheffU, they're a team of thugs, they don't even deserve to be in the Championship --- that said, the decision re West Ham was just plain wrong. An objective view of the rules tells you that West Ham should've been deducted points, not just fined. It's a decision that makes the Prem look thoroughly hypocritical in the face of English condemnation of corruption in other leagues.

75 said...

Complete fudge as usual. FA have always backed away from "big" decisions - dating way back to the Spurs financial irregularities and prob before that.

More than happy to hit clubs in Div 1 and 2 yet when it comes to the real decisions of governing premier league they bottle it.

Ultimately they are scared, just as the football league was previously that if they try to control and govern the league properly then the clubs will just up sticks and form a european super league of some sort.

So in the mean time we are stuck with a weak FA and clubs that know they have the governing body over a barrel.

Yet another crappy precedent set.

Chucky said...

Sadly, this doesn't look like being the end of this sorry affair.
Initially, I was expecting Dave Whelan's JJB's to be doing the litigating, but sadly not. They certainly intimated they would be, but where was their support for SHeffield United?
Just go down and accept your parachute payments, you bitter Blades. And let's not forget your iffy dealings with Watford over ex-players.
West Ham won their survival on the pitch. United went down because of theirs. And how dodgy was Wigan's winning penalty? They weren't expecting a home win at Old Trafford, were they?
Concentrate on your football, rather than clutching at straws.

McClarky said...

As a neutral, I think this has been called correctly. There are some fundamental issues about third party influence that need to be addressed through a far better drafting of Rule U18, which should certainly include any 'non-selection' of players against former clubs following any transfer (and I don't care whether arrangements are made contractually, or by so-called gentlemens' agreements, they are still bollocks).

The third party influence in West Ham's case was never actually exerted (not something that can necessarily be said for other clubs - you know the deals). What they were guilty of was concealment that they had accepted by contract an environment where third party influence could have taken place. On that basis I thought the original judgement (and fine) fair, and viewed Sheffield United's appeal as little more than post-relegation opportunism.

Egg said...

The wrong question is being asked here.

It is not a question of whether or not Sheffield United have been hard done by it is a question of whether the game/sport of football at every level has been hard done by as a result of this saga.

The facts are that a club fielded a ringer, was found to have fielded a ringer, and was allowed to continue fielding that ringer outside of the transfer window. The PL have now set a precedent for every level of the game and have driven a coach and horses through the maintenance of discipline and the rules.

From the PL through the football league down to the Conference, Unibond, local Sunday leagues and junior leagues the green light has now been given for clubs at every level to cheat by fielding unregistered players knowing full well that once the points are in the bag the worst they face is a slap on the wrist fine.

The decisions made in this saga will cause anarchy at every level of the game. Next time a club at any level field an improperly registered player and the ruling body of that league at that level seek to impose a points deduction that club will point to the decisions made in regard to this situation. This will engender major friction in the future and will further ruin the game for those who are involved for the love of it adding to yet a further impoverishment of our culture.

Guy said...

"However the tribunal had to apply the principles of judicial review and determine whether the decision was irrational or perverse. This is a very strict test and is very difficult to satisfy. It concluded that it was impossible for this tribunal to find that the decision was irrational or perverse."

There you have it! As Billy Bragg once sang "this isn't a court of justice son, this is a court of law".

The premier league haven't come out of this well and would be well advised to employ an army of lawyers to go thru its regulations before we get underway again on Aug 11th.

Best £5.5mil the Eggman will ever spend ;@)

Anonymous said...

as far as I can tell, Tevez was signed against Premier league rules, something that was shown up after the scousers had managed to blag their way into signing Mascherano (sp). Therefore West Ham had a case to answer for. And was found guilty. Most other clubs would have been deducted points. If it was Shef Utd or Wigan, I bet you a pie that they would have had points deducted.

West Ham have got away with it and there is nothing now preventing other clubs to enter into teh same type of deals because a fine of only 5m (only) is an easy thing to pay when there's 30m+ riding on relegation.

Zootalors said...

Where there is vasts amount of money there is corruption. Everyone saw it in the Italian game and though, not the same, some things where kept behind the scenes in this case.

I Wouldnt be suprised that they kept West Ham up purely on aa finacial basis. They have more money than Sheffield United, they attract bigger players and when they still have Tevez on the books, have a big global appeal.

Our fa, who cant even appoint the right man for the England job (though they would make us believe they did), are in it for the money, like a towering empire.

This saga was bound to end in biterness and the only place to point the blame is our FA for a) letting this happen in the first place and B) letting it drag out so long.

Congratulations, another job well done.

rocky said...

The thing is that the powers that be have set a precedent when handing out fines - if the same situation happens in League one will the fine be £5 million or £500,000? Point deduction is the only standard punishment that can be applied through the pyramid system.

Also now there is so much money in the Premiership is £5m fine to play a unregistered player a gamble worth taking?

Gav said...

Did anyone really expect them to rule against the FAPL?

what WHU did was wrong, there was concern from day one of the signings of Masherano and Tevez. I ahve sympathy for WHU fans but their club knowingly decieved and broke the rules and have got away with a financial slap on the wrist.

A points deduction was the only fair way to punish the club - they go out every week and play for points with the deception going on.

Overturning the decision would have made the FAPL a laughing stock yet they fail to realise that they already are one because of the unfair light punishment for a serious offence.

£5 million is nothing to a PL club, it should have at least come with something that would realy punish them, a 18 month incoming transfer ban or something

messi said...

Sheffield only had to beat Wigan on the Last day at home to stay up, whilst West ham had to go to ol trafford and win. Sheffield utd only have themselves to blame and are begining to irritate me. Hope we never have to see them again in the top league. I hope they even get relagated to the 1st divison just to make sure that they dont even get close.. they are Bad loosers and they deserve everything they get

Anonymous said...

Davey makes a good point. Tevez was registered. Had he been inelligable then the decision would have been straight-forward: points deduction.

As it was the Premier League accepted Tevez and Masherano's registration despite the World and his wife knowing that they appeared to be "owned" by another party. They did this probably because they were so excited about two world class players signing for a club outside the Big Four therby adding legitimacy to their claims of being the best league in the World.

And there, ultimately, lies the rub. What punishment do you apply to a club for lying to you without looking like a chump for being lied to in the first place?

My personal opinion is that a points deduction would have been appropriate. But out of consideration to West Ham's supporters, who are innocent yet interested parties (they give thousands of pounds to support their club often with scant reward entertainment wise) I would have deferred that deduction to the start of next season.

In fact I'd defer all points deductions to the following season. That way it removes the dilemma of applying deductions at awkward stages of the season and everyone knows where they stand. Then Sheffiled United supporters can direct their full ire at their players and managers for making a complete balls up of their season.

It is not a perfect solution, but I believe it is the least unfair.

Shep said...

The premier league fudged it in the first place by leaving the decision so late and deciding that it would be unfair on the West Ham fans.

Once that decision was made I think there was little going back and Sheffield United would have had to present an overwhelming case to get the decision over-turned as the premier league are always going to look for ways to protect their original decision and not lose face, and so it turned out.

We've all seen it time and again with football authorities at whatever level - ridiculous decision making and a severe reluctance to admit they're wrong and to just keeping on sticking to the original story. Very much like politicians really.

Anonymous said...

"The tribunal said they had "sympathy" with the Blades, while West Ham had been "deliberately deceitful" and yet remained in the Premier League" and yet the original decision is not changed.

I challenge any football fan not to feel aggreived if this happened to their club. I agree that SU weren't the most attractive of teams (could be said of Bolton / Man City) and that our manager was very annoying, and agree that we should have beaten Wigan on last day to keep matters in our own hands, but it still doesn't alter the fact that the punishment handed to West Ham was too lenient.

Gaz said...

After all the baiting in the press, it is over. After the nonsense of Sean Bean going to Parliament with his petition, it is finished. Sheffield United are back where they belong and West Ham sit rightly in the Premier League.

The press have sensationalised this appeal for far too long, it was clear to anyone who was prepared to think about the legal side from the outset that this panel could not find the findings of the original panel 'perverse' as they would had to have done to overturn it.

Course if Sean Bean had been successful we could have sent Ray Winstone down there, would have been a right tear up.........

Willo-pillo said...

Tevez was always registered properly. Improper registration was why points were deducted in previous cases (e.g. Spurs/Middlesborough).

Third party influence is a different matter. This was the first judgement on the issue of third parties. No third party influence has been made to date on affairs within West Ham, and is not likely to be either. The first Judgement was fair but too long. It was unnecessary to include comments about fans etc.

Justice has been done and journalists have had a lovely time in this particular mud bath, slinging to their hearts' content.

Drinkel said...

I am a West Ham supporter of 45 years standing. I also have a really good mate who is an SUFC fan of similar vintage.

He bought me a drink when we got stuffed a couple of years back on the last day at Birmingham and I returned his favour after The Blades lost at home to Wigan back in May.

We all know that football is tribal. Yet he accepted SUFC's fate (both before and after the arbitration ruling) with much better grace than I did when West Ham went down.

And that makes him a better man in my eyes than all the lawyers who have been milking this case for all its worth.

Naturally, I hope that West Ham have a great 2007/2008 season. And, for my friend's sake, I hope that SUFC rejoin the Premier League the following season.

Jiffy said...

As lots of people are pointing out, Tevez's registration was NOT in question, so the parallels with the AFC Wimbledon points deduction are off the mark.

The rule they broke was to do with undue 3rd party influence. This rule is there to protect the integrity of competition ie to stop West Ham throwing matches, and also to protect teams from being forced to sell their players, as was apparently going to be the case in this situation.

So, in both cases, West Ham would have been the victim of this 3rd party influence. The rule they broke is actually there to protect them! This has been consistently misreported by the media.

Now, the rules are rules and lying to the Premier League to disguise the details is serious, and might have warranted a points deduction, I suppose, but I don't know if there is a precedent for that. Does anyone else?

Katie said...

As a Sheff Utd fan, I'm happy the (totally expected) verdict's in. The whole thing has been a fiasco, and as for all the calls of 'bad losers', don't tar us with one brush - most Blades fans accepted the team'd be swapping Chelsea for Colchester yonks ago.

Yes, everything transpired against us on the final day of the season, but we all know we threw it away ourselves on the pitch. What's left a bad taste among many Blades - and non-Blades - is the feeling that this ridiculous affair is symptomatic of more general greed and corruption in the game- shady third-party ownership, the covering up of lies, bungs...

ps. To those morons/football snobs who say we shouldn't be allowed in the PL anyway because of Warnock, he's no longer our manager. Get over it.

Kenny said...

Tevez was only registered because West Ham lied about the third party ownership. As his ownership was in breach of Rule U18, he, strictly speaking, ought not to have been able to be registered as a player with them.

That's why the original arbitrating panel admitted that, had the decision not been delayed so much, they'd have been docked points.

That's also why the panel recommended that Tevez's registration be 'terminated', and could only be reinstated if West Ham proved his contract no longer violated U18.

Of course, all the assurances that the Premier League required to re-register Tevez was for West Ham - who had already lied once - to tell them 'It's all sorted now'. That's what they did and the problem went away - after the formalities of paying a fine worth a fraction of the benefit they gained from cheating in the first place. Hey kids! Cheats do prosper!

If Joorabchian gets money from the Tevez transfer, incidentally, it'll show West Ham lied again to get him eligible for the rest of the season. He certainly seems to expect to. I wonder what the Premier League will do if that happens?

Actually, we all know what they'll do. Nothing.

Kyberman said...

How did west ham hide the Tevez contract? If they did, then they wouldnt have let Mascherano join Liverpool in the January Transfer window....which was the very things that kicked all this off?

Eggert has always been totally up front with this ever since he took over.

Ive read other comments, and again people are just commenting on the subject devoid of any facts.


The Martian said...

Lots of people have strong opinions about this case, but the number of half-truths being flung around (nothing personal against anyone here, it's been the pattern all along) do make it very hard to see the facts. Can someone please confirm the following facts for me, so at least we know what we're all arguing about?

1) West Ham were found guilty of entering into an agreement which exposed them to third party influences. They they admitted it, they were found guilty, no problem there. (They weren't accused of anything else as far as I know?)

2) So, since guilt isn't the question here, we're only arguing about what the punishment should be for this offense. Blades etc. say relegation/points deduction, whilst the original panel said £5.5m fine.

3) I'm not aware of any club having been punished under this rule before (correct me if I'm wrong), so there's no precedent to go on here. Nor are there any rules which say a points deduction is mandatory or even recommended.

If that's the case, then surely if the panel say it's a fine, it's a fine. The precedent has been set, like it or not. To complain about it now is like shouting at a judge for not giving someone a long enough prison sentence.

The only reason we're all still arguing about this is because the press and many of the commentators don't seem to understand the facts, so Sheffield Utd are trying (quite reasonably) to use this situation to help their club. Fair play to them, but fair play to the original panel, and shame on the journalists and commentators for not understanding the facts (and yes, that means you too Richard Williams).

Anonymous said...

Ken- I don't think that is correct. The problem WHU had was with the contract they signed with Tevez and his owners. As far as I am aware, you don't show the contract you sign with a player to the FA when you register him. So, WHU were able to register T&M quite correctly, since all the registration provisions were met, BUT the club were in breach of the regulation about third party influence, which is a contract thing, and that is what they were fined for.

Unhappy SUFC supporters can keep saying he wasn't legally registered, but he was. They may have more of a case if they argue that the breach of the third party influence rules should merit a points deduction, but given what is reported about the lad they sent to Watford, both WHUFC and SUFC would lose points.

Hmmm... I wonder if Charlton have contacted their lawyers...

Messiah said...

I'm sorry but outside of Sheffield, nobody wanted Sheffield United back in the Premiership.

They clearly weren't good enough based on points earnt and performances. Nobody will lament losing their football from the league. Don't have anything against them personally, Warnock could be a bit of a tool but that's okay.

Surely, many of their fans would not want to take their place in the top flight based on legal moves rather than football?

If West Ham had acted inappropriately, then the players should not have been given permission to take the field. The other thing is, even if the ownership details were irregular, nobody was disadvantaged by this, in any real sense.

It's not like West Ham were forced to rest Tevez against any particular teams, or another team in Europe had any stake in him.

So it's game over and Sheff United can consider themselves LUCKY; they have avoided the possibility of being relegated from the top division TWICE in consecutive years!

McClarky said...

Martian- Totally agree with you on all points. I can accept the obvious partisanship of fans on both sides. What I can't stand is the continuous sloppily-researched, knee-jerk reaction journalism that keeps fuelling ill-informed comments and opinions. I know jounos have pages (or dead air) to fill during the summer, but please can these people do their research. The BBC has been particularly poor in this respect.

Chubster said...

It was the only possible outcome since anyother would have thrown he whole league season into disarray since first there would have had to be another hearing and then either Sheff Utd or West Ham would have challenged the result if it had gone against them. It may be unfair but at the end of the day West Ham won more points than Sheff Utd and that is that.

Pursue the undue influence argument and Chelsea pop up to complain that Man U stopped Howard playing for Everton in a very important match. Where does it end when lawyers get involved.

Sorry but the system, poor though it might be, is what everyone agrees to be governed by and that is the end of it.

Oh and Leeds United just took another step towards oblivion with the taxman challenging the CVA at the last minute.

Ken said...

I'm not a lawyer (and I'm definitely not a Sheffield United fan), but that's the way it appears from the original ruling.

Here's the quote from the ruling itself:

"....Rule U18 (which is to be found in a section headed "Miscellaneous"):

"No club shall enter into a contract which enables any other party to that contract to acquire the ability
materially to influence its policies or the performance
of its teams in league matches or in any (other)
It is those two Rules that West Ham have now admitted being in breach.

Players who play for the clubs may, subject to
those rules, be transferred by them but only during the
transfer windows."

(The other Rule being broken was Rule B13 "in all matters and transactions relating to the league, each club shall behave towards each other club and the league with the utmost good faith". But you don't get docked points just for behaving badly, which the Hammers also admitted to doing).

Now, according to that finding, as Tevez' contract breached Rule U18, he ought never have been allowed to join West Ham in the first place. That's why later on in the ruling, the panel state:

"We order the registration of Carlos Tevez can be terminated by the FAPL"

Which is a rather odd thing for them to recommend if the player was properly and correctly registered.

I may be wrong of course, but at least I'm not deliberately lying to the Premier League in order to secure the services of international footballers.

Paul said...

No-one is arguing about the lying part, Ken, and - as a Hammers fan - I am genuinely ashamed of the then board trying to pull a fast one, and then lie about it.

I'm going to go look up what I can of this whole contract/registration thing, and I'll try to get back to you on your point (which seems well-argued, but which I am sure I saw countered in something I read).

It's just an academic exercise, though. I suspect that the appearance of a contract in which Masch was instructed to play crap for half a season so he could be sold on without comment wouldn't be enough to stop the Blades playing Colchester on Aug 11.

Wham Man said...

Ooooh lets all feel sorry for Sheff Utd?? Such losers!! 90% of the prem have done far worse than west ham did in the whole tevez affair, this has just been made into what it is because we were in the relegation dog fight!

The point everyone is missing here accept (kate from previous email - good piece by the way) is the fact Sheff Utd couldn't beat statistically the weakest team in the prem at home on the last day of the season and West Ham went and outplayed (not just beat) the premier league champions at Old Trafford! So stop whingeing, deal with it and move on, you're in the championship because you were not good enough for the premiership, I hope you bounce back but give it rest both teams are where they are at the moment because of how they played in the relegation run in - we stayed up on merit sheff Utd didn't !!

Samspeakeroftruth said...

They're not corrupt - just incredibly stupid and incompetent, and they have made real trouble for themselves next time a team fields an illegal player and they want to deduct points. It's depressing but not surprising how few people contributing to this thread seem to understand the most basic facts of the case. As the tribunal said, West Ham were "deliberately deceitful" over the registration of the player, and gained unfair advantage from that deceit - that is, they got points they wouldn't otherwise have got. Points deduction (i.e. removing the unfair advantage) is the only rational penalty for this, and should have been applied in the first place. Unfortunately, deducting points at this late stage would disrupt the entire football season, and was never really on the cards for that reason.

But remember the reason Premiership officaldom gave for not deducting points: because it might have sent West Ham down, and that would be unfair to their fans... The mind boggles. Are they saying that the feelings of West Ham fans are more important than those of the fans of whatever unfortunate team would go down instead of West Ham? It's clear from a number of the posts here that some people share this official view that Sheffield United is a less deserving club than West Ham, regardless of the merits of this case. Well, the Blades could have played better, admittedly, but they went down with 38 points, which usually enough to keep you up - it was enough for Wigan - and anyway, you don't stay up because someone deems you to have played well (as if it was bloody ice-dancing, for god's sake), but by getting more points than the bottom three in the table...which returns us to the reason why West Ham should have had points deducted in the first place. Oh yes, and of course the Blades should have got a point against Wigan on the last day. And about Steve Kabba, some of you really need to keep up with events - there was no clause in his contract saying he couldn't play against the Blades: that has been conclusively proved and accepted by the Premiership.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of time and money by Sheffield United. There was never going to be a different outcome to this case! All Sheffield United have suceeded in doing is prolonging the agony of the drop which mathematically they deserve.

Ken said...

Paul- I expect there is an argument against it - as I say, I'm trying just to look at the ruling. As a Wigan fan, I'm aware I'm not a neutral party, but I'm trying to be objective as the rules go.

I suppose that one thing the original ruling and this final arbitration suggests is that West Ham have pretty much exhuasted any goodwill they might have had with the authorities. I wouldn't expect West Ham to be getting much joy from referees next season - and I hope you don't sign anyone who needs a work permit. Mind you, after Pantsil, I bet you hope the same thing as well.

The way I see it really, is this is all a result of desperate incompetance on the part of the Premier League itself. As the panel also stated, if they'd bothered to check the transfer when they ought to have done, it could all have been ironed out without any difficulty - it was only because Scudamore and Richards tried to pretend nothing was happening that a problem really arose, and I suppose the Premier League can't very well relegate West Ham just because they themselves aren't fit to run a bath.

Faddy said...

This is a joke. I am a Liverpool fan but any team could have been on the receiving end. At the time West Ham were doomed to go down so the Premier League had two options. One option was to deduct points and impose a small fine. This would have made no difference to West Ham because they were 'already relegated'. So the Premier League thought let's give them a hefty fine and fund sven's salary. But then West Ham did the impossible and survived. There's a saying :'it's not over until the fat lady sings'.

Cornish said...

Lets now see if the Blades get fined £5.5million for their blatent breach of the same rule U18 with Kabba! Or would they prefer a point deduction at the beginning of next season? I guess that means he isn't a "legally registered player" either ,just like Tevez, according to the media interpretation of events. The decision was made and upheld. Now can we get on with the football please?

Dion said...

I've no real sympathy with Sheffield United whatever the rights and wrongs of the Tevez case the decision had been made and if it had been reversed and three points conveniently deducted then itwould have made joke of the Premier League. It would have sent droves of other self pitying fans off to appeal about something or other next year.
If there is a lesson to be learned its that punishments need to be doled out quickly by the FA and equally clubs need to accept them. Its notable that Sheffield Utd and other clubs that were complaining played very badly in the last few games. If they hadn't have been so negative, they probably would have stayed up. There really isn't anyone else to blame, they were working on their hard luck story before the season had ended and in the end that was what sent them down.

The evil said...

Warnock had the chance to keep Sheffield United up and guess what? It was by winning games. They couldn't do that, HE couldn't do that and for that reason alone Sheffield United were relegated.

Sheffield United have always played dire football, it's part of their tradition now which is why so many turn to Wednesday for more cultured displays. Brian Deane anyone? How does that compare to say Carbone or DiCanio? It doesn't but it sums up the difference in aspirations of the two clubs.

I don't know about docking points for non-disclosure but I'd welcome the opportunity for the FA to dock points from route one teams with little talent or prospect of developing in the EPL.

Cockney-slasher said...

Sheffield did not get enough points to stay up - that's why they were relegated!! At home in the last game of the season, they lost and were therefore relegated! West Ham beat Man Utd, away & stayed up.

Dr Zog said...

So it seems, from a brief scan, that this thread's full of Spammers and Wendys, both happy to see the 'played totally within the rules' Blades relegated in favour of 'cheated and lied about it, meeja darlins' Spam.

This is truly a travesty and the EPL have shown that they're more innarested in havin 'glamour' clubs in the Prem than ones who play by the rules.

I can't see the point in the Prem havin a rule book if any two bob cahnt (no offence Spammers but that means you)can knowingly break these. If the top fine for fielding ringers is only five mill, I hope that other clubs exploit this and then point to the 'Wet Spam Precedent'.

If this is the 'best league in the world, honest guv, straight up, no word of a lie' then they can stick it. I'd rather a league which was transparent and which stuck to its own rules.

As was said on another board (and quotin a bunch of Spammers) 'It was the greatest Cockney rip-off.'

Anonymous said...

Weeeeell it is a West Ham blog, Zog. Best go somewhere else for an impartial view squire.

My best instinct said...

As Billy Bragg once sang "this isn't a court of justice son, this is a court of law".

Says it all really. Everybody knows if you field a dodgy player (in any league) you get a points deduction, often all the points you won with that player. And if you compound that by deceiving the league over it you get totally hammered, obviously. Everybody accepts that, because it's pretty clear that otherwise everything will go to pot.

That's why the general reaction was that West Ham had got away with murder and they were cracking open the champagne after only being fined. Now it emerges that the League is sufficiently corrupt that it can set up an appeal process that can come to the conclusion that the decision was probably wrong, but it doesn't have the power to change it. What kind of appeal process is that?

Leaves kind of an unsavoury smell really.

Anonymous said...

grembold said...

Jog on, pffft!

Blue sky said...

I'm not surprised that Sheffield Utd haven't been re-instated.

As a Watford fan, I am interested to know what will happen to the Blades over the Kabba saga- the local paper did imply there was an agreement that he wouldn't play for Watford against Sheffield.

As a punishment, I would like to see the transfer anulled, and Kabba back to Sheffield Utd. Then maybe we could get a better finisher.

Katie said...

"Take away all the politics and legal arguements and you are left with the simple fact that if Sheff Utd had beaten Wigan at home on the final day,they would have stayed up."

This is a faintly ludicrous argument.

Imagine that the footballing authorities go slightly bananas and announce just before the FA Cup final kicks off that whoever loses the match will be relegated automatically from the Premier League, to spice up the proceedings a bit. So Manchester United end up being relegated. Outraged at this sudden changing of the rules, they launch a legal challenge against their relegation, which is rejected.

"Bloody moaning Man Utd fans", jeer some on discussion boards. "Take away all the politics and legal arguments and you are left with the simple fact that if Man Utd had beaten Chelsea in the FA cup final, they would have stayed up."

fatty teky said...

sheffield went down because they didn't win enough games, it really it is that simple

Chubster said...

I cannot believe that this issue has created such tension and vitriol. The north south divide is pretty self evident with views of he judgement having more to do with geography and with the facts of the case. As usual the FA play the part of incompetent amatuer with great aplomb and Kevin very rich McCabe plays the part of Sebastian used to getting my own way so well. Those two deserve to be locked in a room for all eternity arguing the toss about nothing.

However, leaving the histrionics to one side, the simple reason that West Ham stayed up is that they played attractive attacking football whereas Sheffield Utd played defensive pap that cheated the paying customer. It would have been my preference to see Wigan relegated on the grounds that they played the worst football ever seen in the prem league, I know cos i wasted good money to watch them play.

dio said...

"The north south divide is pretty self evident with views of he judgement having more to do with geography and with the facts of the case"

So how does this work out, there are more Northern Clubs in the Premier League than Southern ones? It amazes me how people keep bleating on about London bias without mentioning how this works when there are only five London clubs in the PL one of which was allied to Sheffield united in this case and another which backe dth einitial action and was subsequently relgated.

Jacksy said...

Lets stop all the emotive words, all the outbursts of supposed passion for the game and the inequality of punishment.

Did West Ham benefit from the inclusion of the ineligble players .. whilst his contract did not conform to the FAPL rules. After clarification and amendment to his contract did his contribution assist West Ham in securing a place in the PL.

Also consider, the manager involved in the signing of the players was summarily dismissed.

Where in the book of rules does it say that for any infraction of the rules a points deduction will result.

Previous examples of judgments are not to be compared as each and every case has its merits and demerits. Almost like saying every ' pick pocket' will be .. etc etc.. then you can do away with the court and just have set punishments....

Totally unacceptable

The review of the panels original judgment was never going to result in reversal of procedure as the pleas from a club that had all season to secure a a place away from the religation zone.

Not about supporters, clubs or players it's about the protocol and procedures and parimeters in which the panel reviewed the original case.

A fair and just decision, for all concerned.

Well, maybe not for those seeking to gain an unfair advantage.

Addickted said...

i) West Ham broke the rules to sign two players on illegal terms.

ii) They lied to cover up their transgression.

iii) They admitted guilt.

iv) The Commission admitted that they would have normally docked points for such a transgression, but chose not to because it would be unfair on the fans at that stage of the season.

v) West Ham's penalty was a £5.5m fine, yet a few weeks later they could cheerfully put in a bid of £17m for Darren Bent and offer him £75K a week plus a hefty signing on fee, some punishment that fine was!

My conclusion...the Premiership bottled this, WHU signed two players illegally with the intention of improving their ability to win matches and pick up points and secure a place in the next season's Premiership, if not European football. This was achieved - Tevez was their player of the season and his goals effectively made the difference on the park and therefore they won pints illegally and it is those points or some part of those that they should be stripped of.

The issue isn't about legality, but whether West Ham's fine and penalty suits the crime and the answer is a resounding no. Sheffield United can feel hard done by. By sticking to the rules that West Ham deliberately broke they have relegated. I just hope that what goes around comes around and when West Ham are hit in some way, and if so the sound of chickens coming home to roost will be great to listen to.

RapidHammer said...

There's a significant difference between the first three-man panel which fined West Ham and the arbitration panel which had to decide in the matter of Sheffield Utd. The first commission was an independent Disciplinary Commission of the FA Premier League of which the members had been appointed by the FAPL. Therefore no one of the judges had been named by West Ham. The second panel was installed pursuant to the Arbitration Act 1996. According to this Act each of the parties had the right to name an arbitrator and these arbitrators chose the chairman of the panel. I don't think that any of the members of this panel had been biased but this panel should never have mentioned that "in all probability" they would have deducted points from West Ham if they had to decide in the disciplinary hearing, because an arbitration panel like this one would never have been installed in an disciplinary hearing!


Copyright 2007 ID Media Inc, All Right Reserved. Crafted by Nurudin Jauhari