Thursday, 19 July 2007

Vexed Lies And Barrel Scrape

Manchester United face significant disruption to their preparations for the start of the season on August 11 after Fifa yesterday refused to give any indication of how quickly it could resolve the dispute over Carlos Tevez. The Guardian state that the Disputes Resolution Chamber (DRC) is set to be asked to pass judgement on the Argentinian's contractual situation with West Ham in a case which is likely to be brought directly by player, but the possible timeframe for any resolution raises serious doubt over whether Tevez will be available for the start of the season or, indeed, whether the deal can be completed before August 31, the end of the summer transfer window. According to The Telegraph, the chamber are not scheduled to meet again until August 9 - two days before the start of the season. The Premiership Champions, it says, have already written off the prospects of Tevez completing his controversial move to Old Trafford in time for next month's Community Shield meeting against Chelsea.

Manchester United were yesterday still optimistic about a swift resolution with chief executive David Gill saying he hoped the case can be dealt with on an "expedited basis". However a Fifa spokesman effectively switched on the muzak after admitting it was "impossible" to know when it would be resolved. "We can't give any time frame - it will depend on the complexity of the case. At this stage we have still not yet had a formal request. If time is of the essence it might be possible to throw it forward but first of all Fifa must decide if it is competent to act on the case." The chances of the matter still being referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) are high, according to Mick McGuire, deputy chief executive for the Professional Footballers' Association and an English board member of Fifpro, who represent players in disputes that go to the DRC. He said: "It could drag on. But Fifa make the regulations on transfer windows and know the time frames - you would hope they take that into account. You can take it to the next stage, to CAS, and that would be the final appeal stage." Whether a case is suitable for the DRC or a player status committee depends on the dispute, whether it is club-to-club or player-to-club. McGuire added: "It's a matter of which avenue is most appropriate. It could be seen as a dispute between Manchester United and West Ham, or between Tevez and West Ham."

Fifa would not normally get involved in such disputes because it involves a domestic, rather than an international transfer, but it does have the jurisdiction under exceptional circumstances explains Jason Burt in The Independent. The chamber will have to decide whether the four-year playing contract Tevez has with West Ham is valid, as the club claim, or whether he signed a one-year deal, with options, as the Argentine and his advisers claim. If it rules in Tevez's favour, United will be free to negotiate the terms of the transfer with Media Sports Investments, the company who own his economic rights. The Premier League will then have to decide whether it takes further action against West Ham- the punishment of a 6 point deduction has been mentioned in certain quarters. If it rules in the club's favour, United will be obliged to strike a deal with West Ham, and not MSI, to buy out the remainder of Tevez's contract. At that point, the businessman Kia Joorabchian, who claims to own the "economic rights" to the striker, will have to decide whether or not he goes to court to try to seek damages. Either way, says Burt, it should mean that the Tevez transfer eventually takes place and help resolve where the loan fees and future transfer payments go. The Premier League believe it is almost inevitable that Fifa will have to rule and hope that the saga serves as a warning to clubs and businessmen not to enter into so-called "third party arrangements".

While Manchester United impatiently await the decision, Burt insists the club are required to act with probity as they would be in danger of breaching the Premier League rules over the tapping-up of players if they continued pushing for the transfer without reaching agreement with West Ham. It is surprising then that Carlos Tevez looked every bit a Manchester United player yesterday. An article in the Mail insists the Argentina striker spoke with some of his 'new' team-mates, including skipper Gary Neville, striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and keeper Ben Foster after, it is claimed, taking part in his medical. Tevez then took a tour of the impressive facilities at United's Carrington training ground. While Gill expressed the hope that Tevez may be free to train with United before the Barclays Premier League season begins in early August, The times believe that there are growing concerns that the issue could take substantially longer because of the complications surrounding the relationship between the Argentina forward, his representatives and West Ham.

Those relations became even more fractious last night when Kia Joorabchian accused West Ham of making inconsistent statements about the player's future. He accused the London club of failing to act upon "repeated promises and assurances" with regard to the player's possible transfer and confirmed his intention to bring "the true circumstances" to the attention of both Fifa and the Football Association. That, in itself, should be entertaining. Fifa could hardly have expected to see Joorabchian's handiwork again so soon, when just two weeks ago MSI lost a separate battle in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. That case looked at the company's involvement in the transfer of a Brazilian striker named Nilmar from Lyon to Corinthians for 10 million euros. Lyon alleged that Corinthians and MSI had acted illegally in trying to evade paying the full transfer fee. First FIFA and then CAS backed Lyon. Corinthians have been left broke after falling out with MSI and now owe the French champions eight million euros. Furthermore, four of their directors are due in court on allegations of money-laundering and also of match-fixing as part of the same investigation that has fingered MSI.

Joorabchian released the following statement through lawyers representing the Iranian businessman and his company MSI read:
Press statements both today [Wednesday] and over the last few weeks are wholly inconsistent with the real circumstances and the situation presented to us by West Ham concerning Carlos Tevez. We as a company have patiently kept away from the issues including West Ham in order to give the club the opportunity to resolve the matter in a legal and agreeable way acceptable to all parties. West Ham have consistently provided private assurances while at the same time making contrary statements to the public at large. We can no longer allow these inconsistencies to continue unaddressed.

We wish to make clear that at all times it has been our intention to find an amicable solution and Carlos Tevez has, at no time, acted improperly in relation to his move to Manchester United Football Club as he was given permission via his representatives to talk to other clubs to reach an amicable agreement. Over the last six months West Ham have made repeated promises and assurances which they have not acted upon or performed. It is now time for these inconsistencies to be brought to an end. We see no alternative but to bring the true circumstances to the attention of a higher authority to aid a rapid conclusion to this issue."

During his time at West Ham Carlos Tevez performed at a high standard. There was a period at the end of last year when Carlos had the opportunity to leave the club and yet he decided to stay to successfully help West Ham survive in the Premier League.
Naturally, Kia Joorabchian's mouthpiece carried this latest piece of propaganda with fervent glee. Sportsmail's Lee Clayton also 'understands' there is 'explosive documentation' held by Joorabchian that, until yesterday, was likely to remain out of the public domain. That will be the same 'explosive documentation' that was supposed to surface at the original disciplinary hearing, and then again at the arbitration panel. The same 'explosive documentation' that Joorabchian publicly denied even existed just a few weeks ago.

Finally, the Express claim Kia Joorabchian now wants to bypass Fifa and take West Ham and the Premier League straight to the High Court to prove Carlos Tevez is free to complete his £35million move to Manchester United. Although it was agreed yesterday that the case would be forwarded to the Disputes Resolution Chamber, Tevez's representatives are now worried about the time scale involved and want the matter cleared up in plenty of time for their client to start the season at Old Trafford – making High Court action the most favourable move.


Anonymous said...

If it was me in charge at man utd i would pull out of the deal and buy someone else before aug 31.
Look maybe he is good, but do they need to have a run around all the time?

Merv said...

If West Ham have a four year signed
contract with Carlos Tevez let somebody see it. End of story

Shepherd said...

I completely agree Merv, why haven't West Ham just produced the document this whole mess would then be over.
This whole thing smacks of the Premier League saving their skins over the Sheffield United

Peter said...

As I understand it, there can only be a call to FIFA if there is a dispute involving a country other than that in which a transfer (in this case) is taking place.
To bring in another country, presumably Argentina, must undermine the validity of the stance taken by the Premier League, West Ham United, and the arbitration panels.
IF West Ham have Tevez on a 4-year contract, there should be no need for these proceedings, unless of course, they don't..

Wills said...

Inconsistent West Ham'? Really, was Kia Joorabchian not widely quoted in September 2006 as saying that that the Tevez deal with West Ham Utd FC was not a loan, but a four-year deal! Now it has suddenly and mysteriously become a one-year loan! Explain that inconsistency, Mr Joorabchian.

Hopey said...

United sure do pick them. What a mess, I hope he is worth it. I watched him against Brazil and he was very poor, his performance reminded me of his early days at West Ham, I am yet to be convinced. However, I think West Ham are being really awkward for the sake of being awkward, serve them right if something comes out that incriminates them. Bring back Sheffield United and dump West Ham where they belong, down a division.

Mikey said...

Rock on Kia, Let them all see your files and prove you have acted in a proper and legal fashion and if West Ham are exposed as shysters and liars let them suffer the consequences, demotion to the Championship or Division 1, an example needs to be firmly set by the football authorities, West Ham are on thin ice.


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