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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Is it poetic justice time for West Ham?

West Ham were fined £5.5m for not following Premier League rules in registering Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano when the two arrived at Upton Park in . However they were not docked points, which has been the usual method of punishment for non-compliance with the rules, which the football world therefore found unusual. Rumours surfaced the Hammers made a deal with the Premier League to evade losing points, which would have potentially put West Ham into further relegation depth as to virtually seal their drop before the home game against Bolton. The verdict has caused irritation and dismay at Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, Fulham and Charlton, and the four clubs have had talks with legal advisers and themselves in consideration of a legal challenge to the decision.

Briefly, the decision stems on the evidence which implicated the former West Ham chairman Terence Brown and managing director Paul Aldridge, who negotiated the transfers, acted improperly and withheld vital documentation concerning ownership of the players. The Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore was lied to by Aldridge in regard to the existence of the documents, the full details of which were eventually submitted to the Premier League in January when the Premier League considered an investigation into the deals. West Ham entered a guilty plea before a 3-man independent panel, consideration was taken of the plea and that the dealings would not have occurred under the current ownership of Eggert Magnusson. Thus West Ham were only fined a record fee to potentially compensate for avoiding docked points.

With Mascherano taken in by Liverpool on a 18-month loan, the question arose further of Tevez's ownership. West Ham have proven to the Premier League that Tevez is under their ownership and not that of a third party, though this is still to the dissatisfaction of the four clubs mentioned. Nonetheless Tevez was stated eligible to play for West Ham straight after the verdict and was influential in their away win at Wigan, ironically, by three goals to nil, as well as at home to Bolton the following match. With the last match to played tomorrow for all EPL clubs, Sheffield United are at home against Wigan, Manchester United host West Ham, Charlton and Fulham have had their fates sealed. Crucially if Sheffield United win, Wigan are relegated. If Wigan win, the goals difference would determine which of the three will go.

Sir Alex Ferguson said after the Chelsea game on Wednesday that he will field a strong side against West Ham with no favours but respect to the other teams below, adding that Rafa Benitez was disrespectful to the same teams for fielding a reserve side at Fulham. I found this hypocritical as Sir Alex also mentioned, after rolling down the names of those injured within the Chelsea squad, that he hopes to field his best XI for the FA Cup final. Precisely the point Benitez had in mind before the Fulham game. In saying that, I sense Man Utd will field nothing more than six or seven first teamers tomorrow. West Ham will have the option of sitting defensively for the majority of the game, try to dampen Utd from playing around them for long periods and look to take the game mainly on the counter-attack.

I heard Oliver Holt, sports journalist for The Daily Mirror newspaper, on the radio this morning saying he is looking to West Ham to relegate in reflection to how they evaded the docked points. Though I feel they should have been docked points as Middlesbrough were in 1997 for impropriety, the decision was to not do so in the discretion of the hearing panel and that is that. The point is to be debated with the Premier League who initiated the panel, not West Ham football club. Mr Holt's opinion is not a fair reflection and something niggles at me to suggest there will be a draw at Old Trafford which would secure West Ham's tenure, and a home win at Bramall Lane to condemn Wigan to the Championship.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

the usual method is points deduction for breaking rules ? pull the other one. Chelsea tapped up Cole.. breaking the rules , £300000 and no points - Wigan and Sheff Utd only have themselves to blame for where they are , as do West Ham - they are simply looking for excuses. You dont hear Chelsea , Arsenal or any of the top clubs whining do you ? No. Poetic justice woul dbe for West Ham to stay up and the price fixing Whelan to go down.

5/12/2007 2:29 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Good point, although Chelsea were given a suspended points deduction for any such future conduct. Yet Liverpool were fined for illegally approaching Boro's Christian Ziege, so to were Aston Villa in regarded to Southampton's James Beattie, without any points deduction. And to help differentiate West Ham's case, there was an early guilty plea as well as the guilty party not being at the club any more.

If the PL were to follow precedent, West Ham would come under that of Middlesbrough than of any of the tapping-up cases. The difference is the effect to the league. The players are meant to be appropriately registered to play, no element of tapping up involved. Once registered, they can then be included for the progress in the table, where it involved relegation.

But another way to look at it is the PL have changed since the Middlesbrough case, deciding to rather hit a club who have someone do as Aldridge did and the club sticks by that person.


5/12/2007 2:52 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as I've seen West Ham were not found guilty of fielding ineligable players and there was not an issue with the registration of the players.
The actual issue surrounds a contract with a 3rd party that states that they could terminate the players contract at any time.
With this in mind, can someone tell me how this actually affected anything on the pitch? If it hasn;t affected anything on the pitch, then why should points be taken off?
I think the punishment has fit the crime here.
In Middlesbro's case, they didn't turn up for a game. It's was a different crime altogether.

5/12/2007 3:45 pm

Anonymous Hammer Harry said...

Dont worry about it we're not we're going to OT to get a point might even win it too. Whelan should step down and retire getting old now like his team and whinges all over the place. We paid the fine and got on with it so should he and the rest of them.

5/12/2007 3:54 pm

Anonymous Stelios Jackson said...

The comments here, just about say it all.

West Ham were punished extremely severely, and because of this, others have decided that the offence was far worse than it was and bleated for a three point deduction.

No surprise that the big noise has come from Mr Whelan, the price-fixing magnate of JJB sports, from whom I shall never buy as much as a golf tee from.

The team who had most to lose out of the acquisitions were none other than the Hammers. The players were fully registered with the PL and allowed to play, but of course, we never fully owned their rights, therefore they could have been sold during the transfer window with minimal compensation to the club.

Yes, this broke rule U18, and by the very fact that it did, rule B13; the latter, a bit like charging an arsonist with possession of a box of matches.

Points are VERY rarely deducted for offences, unless they are extremely major. Chelski, somehow got away with a very specific infingement, and Middlesboro were unfortunate to be docked points because of their failure/inability to fulfil a fixture.

The rules state that fouling a player, handling the ball, arguing with the referee, throwing the ball back into play in an incorrect manner, swearing at the referee are all illegal. An average team does one or other at least 500 times a season, so it's not about whether rules have broken, just how severe it was.

Take Liverpool fielding a reserve team against Fulham, last week. This is a FAR more serious offence; take Tim Howard being left out of the Everton team, despite the fact they owned him, because of an earlier agreement with the team they were facing that day, who, four months earlier were the owners of the 'keeper's contract and, it would appear came to an agreement with Everton, that stated that if Manchester United were still in contention for the league title, Howard couldn't play. Both U18 and B13 were clearly shattered in the latter case.

Had West Ham been fined £100,000 and with no points' deduction, as the vast majority of the media thought would be the case, then hardly a word would have been typed. Instead, we get the biggest fine in the history of the game, for an offece which was remarkably inconsequential, and we have pundits baying for blood. Whilst I'll mourn the loss of 'Match of the Day' from our screens the season after next, at least that waste of breath, Mark Lawrenson, will be unemployed; unless ITV decide he's as good as Andy Townsend, which, of course, he is!


5/12/2007 5:25 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a load of tosh. West Ham broke two important rules and deserve to have points deducted. Watching their fans trying to justify these actions is frankly embarassing. I really hope justice is done tomorrow and WHU are relegated.

5/12/2007 5:46 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous to compare the West Ham situation with that of Middlesboro. They are not analogous at all and therfore you cannot compare penalties awarded. At no time did West Ham field ineligible players which Middlesboro did. The issue in the Tevez/Mascherano case is one of ownership. If you disagree with the fine/only awarded then fair enough but don't argue there is a precident to it because there is not! IMO the whole thing has escalated because of the very poor summing up the independent jury. If no mention had neen made of a points deduction, not much would have been said.

5/12/2007 6:08 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funnily enough, as a complete netural on all of this, initially I felt some sympathy to the clubs in the releagation battle other than West Ham. However, since Dave Whelan's hysterical outburts virtually every day trying every which way to put the blame of Wigan's position on anything but the real truth, which even his manager admits is the team's poor form, I have lost all empathy with this arguement. In an age of 'blame anyone else but myself' and the sue everyone culture in big business, how about West Ham sueing him and others for putting unfair pressure on the London club prior to importsnt games?

5/12/2007 6:46 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What a load of tosh. West Ham broke two important rules and deserve to have points deducted. Watching their fans trying to justify these actions is frankly embarassing. I really hope justice is done tomorrow and WHU are relegated"

Yeah?! We broke the rules and were punished for it. Record fine and all 5.5million, no points docked because the PL said so. So what your problem? If wigan had it that way Whelan would shut up and tell everyone to get stuffed. ITs their fault why they are in the zone and we have Tevez giving us the will all the way. We can get a point tomorrow like the man said and Utd should beat wigan to send them down and good riddance come on Sheff do us a favour and see them off Warnock likes Curbishley anyway no favours to the Wigwams

5/12/2007 11:00 pm

Anonymous Striker said...

Big controversy in the UK I see. Guess that when such big money & TV rights are in play & the main cash source (business model)in danger, that the power interests & favours come into play.
FA should take a stand one way or the other ( independent of whos right)or else a precedent will be created.
The future path must be made clear!

My hello´s to the team

5/13/2007 10:59 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Afternoon, Striker.

Well, controversy is the key to Dave Whelan's drive regarding the Premier League. Though if anything untoward were to have festered in the backgrounds in connection with Tevez' registration Whelan has a right to ask questions. Nonetheless the PL have spoken and are content with the Argentinian's registration, for the moment I would concentrate on gearing the team on today at Bramall Lane, if I was Dave Whelan.


5/13/2007 12:55 pm

Blogger T said...

Good post Redsman, and good comments (and always good to have your comments Striker).

As docked points was not the mandatory punishment its hard to see what case the other struggling clubs would have. And West Ham have been punished with a record fine so its not as if they have walked away unscathed.

Whether they SHOULD have received a points penalty is a different talking point. Clearly in the mind of the so called 'gang of four' clubs they should have. I have a sympathy with this viewpoint- deliberate rule-breaking by a club that gives them/or could give them a competitive advantage should be severely punished and nothing hurts more than docked points.

I have the suspicion that the Premier League were put-off by the clear logistical complications of West Ham appealing to the highest adjudicatory authorities any points deduction- and saw a massive fine as an easy way out. If this is true, this would mean that justice and fairness to all Premiership clubs was not at the forefront of the Premier League's decision-making body when exercising their discretion of what punishment the Hammers should receive.

Yet, as I said at the start, a points penalty was not a mandatory punishment... so despite my understanding of the grievance of Whelan et al I just don't see what effective action they can nopw take.

(Redsman, I will wait for your review before making a comment about the relegation today of Sheffield United.)

5/13/2007 8:35 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely inconsistancy from any organisation who's job involves handing out punishments to teams or individuals in a competitive environment with much to lose is never a good thing and every effort possible should be made to ensure parity? The FA have failed the league in my eyes and although there's always room in a situation like this for 'eye of the beholder' discrepancies insofar as anyone's point of view is concerned, I couldn't help noticing that there seems to be a majority view in the premier league and among all the people I've spoken to on the subject.

Too easily accepting wildly differing punishments to similar events seems a good way of inviting the FA to cherry pick their response to rule breaking depending on how it suits them at the time, if indeed that is not already what they're doing. Not that we or anyone hard done by will ever know. Who do the FA answer too?

As for the teams (and attitude) the top 4 put out on sunday; when was the last time no-one in the top 4 won in the same weekend? 3 of them were at home too. Discraceful. The whole thing rather spoiled a great campaign.

I'm a supporter of none of the aforementioned teams incidently.

Great article by the way.

5/14/2007 7:27 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5/14/2007 10:13 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thank you for your comments. I'm inundated with things right now so I'll post an article to sum up what was the last and probably most nerving and twisting Premiership end thus far. Well, maybe not so nerving as others but perhaps controversial is a better adjective.


5/14/2007 11:41 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To those who wish it were West Ham, sorry but we made it. The so called four clubs who want some action now can do a hickey do larry, we are in the league I say we are in the league!!!! The Hammersssss!

5/15/2007 7:14 am

Blogger Pat said...

The Tevez Scandal has destroied Englands reputation. The EPL has supposed to be the pheonix that rose from the ashes of the Football League, ridding the country of hooligans and other criminal elements operating in and around football. They had done a good job and even the recent bung scandals failed to hurt the EPL's reputation with no strong evidence, but the fine imposed on West Ham proves there was evidence, there was a breach and the failur to deduct points from the club proves the EPL dont want to deal with the issue properly.

Now English football can not stand above other countries as the moral light house of the sport. Next time they want to winge about scandals in Italy and the like they should look at the Tevez shaped stain on their own game.

On other issues, well done Man U again for winning another league title. FA Cup should be a specy, i'll be watching intently.

5/17/2007 1:24 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erm, sorry, you saying that when a team has officials who were involved in corrupting the outcome of at least one game in favour of one side, say AC Milan, that equated to one team in the English league that failed to disclose the true registration of one player in Carlos Tevez, the same side being West Ham? Big difference is West Ham were dishonest, AC Milan were corrupt as well as three other Italian teams. You want to speak up for Italian soccer you need a higher mountain, right into the clouds where no one can hear you cos no one cares a muck. Establish the stinking corruption that sifts through Italian football in our league and talk then.

5/17/2007 9:46 pm


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