West Ham seek legal advice over tribunal ruling- 24 Sep 2008 00:00:00
West Ham are talking to their lawyers regarding an appeal against the independent tribunal hearing that ruled they must pay Sheffield United a compensation fee speculated to be worth approximately £30m.
The tribunal has ruled against West Ham over the fielding of Carlos Tevez which Sheffield United claimed directly resulted in the latter’s relegation from the Premier League.
Sheffield United claim Tevez was not eligible to play at the end of the 2006/7 season, yet played a key role in West Ham's Premiership survival at their expense.
While a £30m figure has been quoted, the tribunal will decide on the amount of compensation to be paid at a later sitting, probably early next year.
West Ham will now take legal advice before deciding on their next move commenting: ‘The club need to digest the full findings of the arbitration panel and will consult lawyers before considering the next steps that we might tackle on this matter.
‘With regard to the club's transfer activity this summer, we made no assumptions in terms of the arbitration panel and were only informed of the ruling on Friday.
‘The only considerations taken into account were our previously stated aims of improving the first team with top-quality players. We are delighted with the signings made and furthermore the club were able to reject a number of significant bids for first-team players during the summer.’
The Football Association's rule K5c states that by signing up to arbitration, ‘the parties shall be deemed to have waived irrevocably any right to appeal, review or any recourse to a court of law’.
This precludes the right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and only a very limited ability to challenge the merits of the award in the Commercial Court.
West Ham were found guilty last April of acting improperly and withholding vital documentation over the ownership of Argentine duo Tevez and Javier Mascherano when they signed in 2006.
A three-man Premier League arbitration panel fined the Hammers £5.5m, but did not dock them points, and they went on to survive the drop on the final day due to a Tevez goal, while Sheffield United were relegated.
Having failed in their attempt to have the original punishment overturned, the Yorkshire club invoked a Football Association rule that allows clubs with a legal dispute to go before an independent tribunal.