Saturday, 4 August 2007

A Circle Squared

Carlos Tevez is free to begin his new life as a Manchester United player after the Premier League ratified the Argentina international's drawn-out transfer last night. Tevez underwent a routine medical examination at the club's practice ground yesterday and the paper- work regarding his signing will go through next week. With a mixture of relief and elation, United then intend to unveil Tevez , confirming him officially as their latest recruit in an extensive period of summer buying. That is possible because of an agreement that has been struck between West Ham United and Tevez's management company, Media Sports Investment, that will see the London club receive £2million in compensation following the protracted and messy row about the player's ownership. The impasse was gradually broken during extensive talks over the past 72 hours and with the dispute finally settled, United will pay MSI around £10million for a two-year loan arrangement with the option to buy Tevez permanently at the end of that deal.

Kia Joorabchian, who fronts Media Sports Investments (MSI) and Just Sports Inc (JSI), the companies that own the economic rights to the player, confirmed that he has withdrawn the writ issued against West Ham last week in an attempt to force the club to release Tevez. A statement issued his behalf said: “We are delighted that a settlement has been reached between all parties to secure Carlos Tevez’s move from West Ham United to Manchester United. The agreement brings an end to the legal proceedings started by us against West Ham United in the High Court last week. Our primary concern has always been to resolve this issue amicably and to allow Carlos to pursue his ambition to play for Manchester United. Carlos is looking forward to being a Manchester United player and his ambition is close to being achieved. We would like to thank Manchester United for all their patience and support throughout."

West Ham said in a statement: "West Ham United can confirm that a settlement has been reached today with the representatives of Carlos Tevez which will allow the player to leave the club. The settlement ends the current litigation taking place between the respective parties and provides for a £2 million fee to be paid to West Ham. The agreement confirms that West Ham do have a valid player’s contract with Carlos Tevez and hold the registration of the player. This will be released once the agreed fee has been paid to the club. The terms of the settlement are consistent with undertakings given by West Ham United to the Premier League and the rules of The Football Association."

The Premier League confirmed it was satisfied West Ham had behaved in line with their undertakings when they terminated deals with Joorabchian in April. Their statement reads: "The decision of the [Premier League] board, having received leading counsel's opinion, is that the agreement reached is compliant with the rules of the Premier League and consistent with the undertakings given by West Ham United to the Premier League board at various times since 27th April 2007. This will lead to the cancellation of Tevez's registration, thereby releasing him to join another club in due course."

The Guardian state that financially the big winner is Joorabchian, who stands to make a fortune from his association with Tevez, but also West Ham will be relieved to have brought the matter to a close after several weeks of fractious negotiations. Tevez was the club's player of the year last season as he inspired their late run to avoid relegation to the Championship but ever since United expressed an interest in the attacker at the start of summer it has been obvious that he would sever his ties with Upton Park. "I am obviously pleased that we have finally reached the end of this saga through agreement and common sense," said the West Ham chairman, Eggert Magnusson. "All parties involved can now move on and focus on the new season. I wish Carlos Tevez well for the next stage of his playing career. He is a fine player and I am sure he will be successful wherever he plays football. Personally, I am looking forward to the next stage of our development as a club and for what I hope will be a very exciting new season in the Premier League."

Sue Mott, in her column in The Telegraph, argues that the even bigger winners are actually the lawyers, the ones who tossed the dispute and then crossed it, examined and poked it, and decided that, all things considered, to let things lie. Then they submitted their bills. 'It used to be that football caused excitement at the bar. Now football causes excitement at the Bar', writes Mott. 'With the joyful termination of the Tevez case, the lawyers can celebrate the fact that their input - not to mention arguments, trades, affidavits, accusations, defences and, of course, bills - has vastly contributed to the reputation of something we once called The People's Game. Only if those people are wearing wigs. And how perspicacious of the legal eagles to discover that there was a way round the Tevez affair that threatened to embarrass the Premier League.'

As the most controversial, drawn-out and unedifying transfer of modern times appears to have reached its conclusion yesterday, the fall-out from the Carlos Tevez affair may not be over yet insist The Independent. Speaking in the paper, Neil Warnock poured scorn on the £2million fee the Hammers have received for the Argentine striker and revealed his former club, Sheffield United, are still considering further legal action. Warnock, who left Bramall Lane in the wake of the Blades' relegation, said: "I'm astounded that a £30million player can be transferred for £2million. I'm sure everyone in football knows why." There was no official comment from Sheffield United but Kevin McCabe, the plc chairman, was known to be consulting the club's lawyers. A statement is likely today.

Further reading: Carlos Tevez factfile; Carlos Tevez timeline;

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