The Carlos Tévez affair widened last night, with Fulham considering a compensation claim against West Ham United should it be proved that the East London club breached further Premier League rules. Fulham, and possibly Wigan Athletic, are looking into whether they are entitled to additional prize-money that they would have received had West Ham not finished directly above them at the end of the 2006-07 season. In Fulham’s case, the figure would amount to about £500,000.
West Ham are confident that no further charges will be brought after the FA and Premier League ordered a fresh inquiry into the Tévez affair. The new investigation will focus on assurances made by the club to the League that ensured that Tévez was able to play in the final three matches of the 2006-07 two years ago.
West Ham, who believe that the inquiry will jeopardise their ability to sell the club, have been given 14 days to submit any evidence before the FA and League consider whether there is a case to answer. The club claim that any points deduction, if they were to be found guilty of any charges that are subsequently brought, would not apply to this season.
West Ham were fined £5.5 million in April 2007 by an independent tribunal, set up by the League, for an admitted breach of rules in the transfer of Tévez. Sheffield United claimed that the Argentina striker’s goals were instrumental in West Ham’s survival in the 2006-07 season.
Despite sources close to the case insisting that West Ham were told they would face no further charges, the League has denied that this was the case. “As announced yesterday, the Premier League and the FA have instituted a joint inquiry into the views expressed by the Independent Arbitral Tribunal chaired by Lord Griffiths,” the League said in a statement.
“The inquiry will examine whether the conduct of West Ham United immediately after the Independent Disciplinary Commission’s decision of 27 April 2007 amounted to further breaches of Premier League or FA Rules. It is categorically not the case that the club has been informed that no charges will flow, as suggested in The Times yesterday. If there is any evidence of wrongdoing by any party, this will be pursued by the relevant regulatory authority.”
Dave Whelan believes that the truth may finally emerge after spending two years campaigning. The Wigan chairman has been an outspoken critic of West Ham and the League over its handling of the Tévez transfer. In May 2007, Whelan called for the resignation of Sir Dave Richards, the Premier League chairman, and Richard Scudamore, the chief executive. However, he said that he has raised the issue during regular meetings of the chairmen and his efforts have been rewarded.
“I have been pushing Scudamore and Richards to look into this and to their credit they have been pushing to do that,” Whelan said. “I was asked by them if I had some patience and wait for them to investigate. I backed off and what they said came to fruition. I believe that Sheffield United have been very badly treated.”
Whelan said that only Fulham supported the battle. “A lot of the clubs wanted it swept under the table,” Whelan said. “They never backed Fulham and us up. The big clubs say, ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’. People want a smooth ride. I feel sorry for West Ham fans but justice must seen to be done.”