Sheff Utd Win £30m Case Against West HamBy: Daryl | September 23rd, 2008
Welcome to England Gianfranco Zola and congrats on your debut win with West Ham. But I have some bad news for you. Back in 2006/7 Carlos Tevez played for the Hammers and scored enough goals to stop the club being relegated, even though he wasn’t eligible. Sheffield United – who didn’t have an Argentine international striker and so did go down – appealed to the FA, who eventually settled on fining West Ham £5.5 million.
But Sheff Utd weren’t finished there. The club took the case to an independent tribunal, claiming £30 million in compensation. And the tribunal has now ruled in favour of Sheffield United. So get ready to sell some players Gianfranco.
Not sure exactly why the Blades chose that figure, but my guess is that it’s the difference between money earned in the Premier League and money earned in the Championship.
Apparently West Ham don’t have much wiggle room. By agreeing to the independent tribunal “the parties shall be deemed to have waived irrevocably any right to appeal, review or any recourse to a court of law”. So looks like West Ham will be sending £30m to Sheffield. They might be able to get the figure reduced, but they’re going to have to cough up something.
And if – like me – you’ve been wondering why West Ham were selling all their players recently (remember Alan Curbishley quite because Anton Ferdinand was sold to Sunderland without his consent) then this makes thing a little clearer.
The depressing thing here is that no one wins. West Ham sort of win overall, as they’re still in the Premier League, but this is the sort of financial blow that could cause serious problems. Technically Sheffield United win £30m, but that doesn’t get them back in the Premier League. Right now they sit 15th in the Championship. Given the competitiveness of the division, that’s a long long way from a return to the top flight.