Dangerous times lie ahead of West Ham.
West Ham's stay and solvency in the Premiership might come down to downplaying Carlos Tevez's role in the Hammers recent surge and highlighting the other players.
However, questions of West Ham's stay and solvency in the Premiership started quite some time ago in August 2006 and it involves deciding to a precision, the selective amnesia of a certain Ms Purdon and the willful ignorance of a certain Mr Duxbury. This was the time when Kia Joorabchian and MSI were negotiating a takeover of the club.
Rule U18 states that "No club shall enter into a contract which enables any other party to that contract to acquire the ability materially to influence its policies or the performance of its teams in league matches or in any (other) competitions."
West Ham's legal director Mr Scott Duxbury had not heard of Rule U18. Ms Jane Purdon, the company secretary, responsible for the regulation the management of players to clubs in the Premiership, had heard of it, and according to her had informed Mr Duxbury when he called her to ask her if these third party contracts were legal in the context of the Premiership. Only thing is that she never did. Mr Duxbury, who one would have thought to be conversant with the rules of the game never bothered to read up on Rule U18. So deceit and ignorance lay at the heart of the West Ham contracts with Tevez and Mascherano. But all this pales in comparison to the outright lie that Paul Aldridge, West Ham's former CEO told Richard Scudamore, the Premiership CEO namely there was no documentation of whatever kind in respect of these players which the Premiership had not seen.
By lying Aldridge broke Rule B13 " in all matters and transactions relating to the league, each club shall behave towards each other club and the league with the utmost good faith." As the CEO, Aldridge is primarily responsible for West Ham's situation. In hindsight, the tribunal investigating West Ham suggests that Carlos Tevez's contract could have been legalized just as Javier Mascherano's contract was brought into compliance by Liverpool according to PL rules.
What gets West Ham off the hook from the more serious points deduction is the delay between the discovery of these violations in January and the investigation that took till April. West Ham is now making a concerted bid to escape relegation and the tribunal notes " the consequence is that a points deduction, say in January, whilst unwelcome, would have been somewhat easier to bear than a points deduction today which would have consigned the club to certain relegation."
The breach of Rule U18 is at the heart of the six clubs that are considering suing West Ham. The financial implications are enormous. It could bankrupt West Ham for decades. I personally think West Ham has gotten off easily. However, we must also look at the clubs accusing West Ham of perfidy. Most of them are near relegation so there is a vested interest in seeing West Ham slapped with a 3 point deduction. Dave Whelan's Wigan, who is leading the bandwagon, have had no wins in their last six, and Charlton just the one win. A lot of this brouhaha is calculated to distract from their own poor performances.
Read the proceedings of the tribunal. It makes for fascinating reading into how West Ham set out to dupe the PL >>