Friday, 27 February 2009

The Bill Is In

Sheffield United will be claiming £45.5million over the Carlos Tevez affair when they face West Ham United at an arbitration hearing next month. According to several newspaper reports this morning, the Blades have finally submitted the 'official bill' for the cost of their relegation from the Premier League two seasons ago and will now face the Hammers at a hearing due to begin on March 16 to decide how much compensation they should receive.

The Hammers have already been fined £5.5million for breaching League rules over third-party agreements and now the Yorkshire club, who were originally claiming £30million, have produced a detailed breakdown of figures showing what they claim to have lost, taking into account forfeited TV revenue, falling gate receipts, depreciation in player values and a decline in sponsorship.

The Sun reports that Argentine striker Tevez, now a Manchester United player, scored the winner at Old Trafford on the final day of the season to keep the Hammers up and send the Blades down. A subsequent tribunal, chaired by Lord Griffiths, then ruled Tevez would not have been allowed to play if West Ham had been honest about the status of his third-party registration. Of course, we should not let the fact that West Ham United only needed a solitary point to survive in the final game and would've achieved that regardless of Tevez's strike cloud a good story here; nor the fact that Sheffield United would've survived regardless had they managed to beat Wigan Athletic at home.

It is now up to Lord Griffiths to decide the final payout to the Blades and he will take into account evidence from expert witnesses. The article states that the signs are not good for West Ham as Lord Griffiths has previously been critical of their behaviour, particularly that of chief executive Scott Duxbury. He insisted: "We have no doubt Tevez’s services were worth at least three points to West Ham over the season and were what made the difference between them staying in the Premier League and being relegated."

The Hammers have already failed in attempts to get the case referred to the High Court and the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. On each occasion they were told to abide by the tribunal decision. In the meantime, a new probe has been launched by the FA and Premier League as a direct result of Lord Griffiths’ findings.

In related news, the man in the middle of this wretched drama says the demands of winning trophies with Manchester United is far easier to cope with than the gut-wrenching pressure of fighting relegation with West Ham. Carlos Tevez played a controversial part in keeping the Hammers in the Premier League before his protracted switch to Old Trafford and he is quoted in the Express as saying: "The pressure I felt at West Ham when we had to keep them in the Premier League was intense. When you are at the centre of a team that is fighting to stay up that is much harder pressure to deal with. The pressure builds up match by match, especially when so many people love the club and want to see it survive. It is not pleasant. It is much easier when you are fighting for trophies. It is a nice kind of pressure and the sort of thing I have been dealing with since my time at Boca Juniors. Win, win, win – that’s all you have to do!"

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