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Old 20th March 2009, 10:02   #1
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Default FA facing further Tevez fallout

FA facing further Tevez fallout

• Players' claim could lead to another arbitration case
• Lawyers expecting reply from West Ham within week

* Owen Gibson
* The Guardian, Thursday 19 March 2009

The FA may have to convene yet another independent tribunal to examine the fallout from the Carlos Tevez affair if West Ham United fail to settle a claim from Sheffield United's former squad, it has emerged. The group of around 20 players taking action against both West Ham and their own club could take their case to arbitration under the FA's rules, despite Lord Griffiths having already chaired a panel that examined the dispute between Sheffield United and West Ham.

Because the players were not part of that claim, which was settled before Lord Griffiths was able to decide on compensation, with an agreement that West Ham would pay the Yorkshire club £15m over five years plus an extra £5m if the club was sold, they are free to start their own process. The likelihood of yet another arbitration case could further drag out an already tortuous regulatory process.

Since 2007, when the Hammers stayed up partly thanks to the contribution of Tevez, the case has already covered: the original Premier League judgment that imposed a fine of £5.5m for breaking rules on third-party ownership; the Griffiths panel that was critical of West Ham's conduct in the aftermath of that decision; and the joint FA and Premier League investigation announced this year to examine the consequences of his findings.

It is understood that the lawyer representing the group of players and backroom staff, Chris Farnell of IPS Law, is expecting to hear back from West Ham within the next week.

On Tuesday, the club issued a strongly worded statement in which it promised to "strongly resist any attempts to prolong this matter through the courts both to protect our interests and those of the wider game" and warned that the spiraling claims could lead to "legal anarchy".

The Upton Park club, which had hoped to draw a line under the case, claimed not to have received any "formal legal claims". But Farnell is believed to have been in correspondence with West Ham for more than six months.It is believed that if neither West Ham or Sheffield United come up with a satisfactory settlement, the most likely outcome is that the case will be taken to arbitration under the FA's rule K5.

An FA spokesman yesterday confirmed that the players would be within their rights to pursue the case through its regulatory framework.

In addition to the Sheffield United players who are claiming for lost earnings and bonuses that they would have been due had they stayed up, then manager Neil Warnock is also speaking to his lawyers and Leeds United chairman Ken Bates is considering launching a claim for success-related bonuses that would have been due on transfer fees had the Blades stayed up.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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