WEST HAM reneged on an agreement not to play Luis Boa Morte against his former club Fulham in January, writes Duncan Castles in the Sunday Times. The relegation-threatened Hammers went on to secure a point that could prove critical to their Premiership survival when the season ends this afternoon.
Boa Morte was signed from Fulham on January 5. Eight days later, he played his first Premiership game for West Ham in a 3-3 draw at Upton Park.
Fulham were infuriated by the Portugal winger’s appearance, having initially refused to sell Boa Morte until after the fixture but relenting because West Ham wanted to play him the previous weekend in the FA Cup. The two clubs reached a noncontractual agreement that Fulham’s former captain would not be used against them in the match, which West Ham proceeded to ignore. A source at Fulham said: “We are furious at West Ham’s handling of the Boa Morte transfer.”
West Ham deny promising not to use Boa Morte. A spokesman said: “As far as West Ham were concerned no such agreement was made, either contractual or noncontractual.”
Fulham are part of the so-called “gang of four” with Charlton Athletic, Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic who are threatening to sue the Premier League over its controversial decision to punish West Ham with only a £5.5m fine for failing to disclose third-party influence over the contracts of the Argentina internationals Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.
Controversy also flared last week over Everton’s “gentleman’s agreement” not to play goalkeeper Tim Howard against Manchester United earlier this month as part of the transfer deal that moved him between the clubs. The league insists that such agreements are acceptable because they are unenforceable by law or competition rules.