Somebody on the Blades Mad
board has posted the letter Sheffield United received from the Premier League. Basically it lays out in detail why Sheffield United have no case. Here is part of a summary towards the end of the letter,
"Given the complexities around this, we would ask you to step back from the detail and consider the matter in more general terms:
1. Tevez has been properly registered to play for West Ham United since 31 August 2006. The Board, under our Rules, is charged with the authority to determine this.
2. He continues to be registered with West Ham United.
3. This is a case without precedent and certainly cannot be compared with Clubs who have played unregistered players or players ineligible through suspension.
4. On 26 April West Ham United admitted to breaches of Rules B13 and U18 – for which they have been fined in accordance with our Rules.
5. The offending third party agreement has been terminated by West Ham United and therefore they are not continuing to be in breach."
The League also point towards part of the commission's judgement,
"The judgement also made comments about the Commission’s view of the enforceability of the third party contracts in question. West Ham United argued that they were not enforceable, the Commission was minded to agree, but West Ham United could not use this as a defence as they had acted as if they were enforceable in the first place ... had the Club in time made disclosure of the third party contracts to the FAPL, then, in all probability, contracts could have been entered into which would not have offended the rules”."
In other words Tevez's agents could not legally influence West Ham anyway. If West Ham told the League about the wording of the contracts they could have been reworded so that they did not beak the rules.
Basically The Premier League seems to feel that West Ham's breach of the rules was a technicality that could easily have been avoided and that any third party interference in the club could never have happened anyway.
When looked at this way it seems that a £5.5 million fine was very steep punishment.
In the end despite the accusations by certain chairmen and journalists that West Ham are cheats and should be deducted points West Ham have actually been severely punished for a technical breach of a little known rule.
It would be nice if those who have jumped all over West Ham could actually stand back and ask themselves what advantage West Ham stood to gain from allowing a third party the right to withdraw its best players in the January transfer window.
West Ham were found guilty of allowing a third party the right to adversely affect the club's performance and were subsequently fined £5.5 million. Case over.