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The Politics of Football: Sheffield United & Premier League

sheffield united crest The Politics of Football: Sheffield United & Premier League
Is it a coincidence that the Premier League was scheduled to announce the fixtures for the 2007/2008 season on June 21st, but has now moved the date back to June 14th?

Could it be because the arbitration hearing between Sheffield United and the Premier League is scheduled for June 18 and 19?

The arbitration hearing into Sheffield United’s case should be of interest to all fans of Premier League teams. If, as Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe suggests, United will win the case and the previous decision will be overturned, this could send the league into mass chaos and a potential countersuit from West Ham.

The arbitration scheduled for June 18 and 19 comprises a three-man panel consisting of Lord Justice Sir Philip Otton (chairperson), David Pannick QC (who was nominated by the Blades) and leading barrister Nicholas Randall (nominated by the Premier League).

According to The Yorkshire Post newspaper, “although [the panel] cannot overturn the decision to fine the Hammers £5.5m, the panel can rule that the judgement was flawed and award compensation. They can also declare that the original decision was unlawful and should be set aside. If that is the case, the Blades would be in a strong position to lobby for re-instatement to the Premier League supported by a number of chairmen from top-flight rivals including Wigan Athletic, Fulham, Charlton Athletic and Middlesbrough.”

McCabe wants the Premier League to hold a fresh disciplinary hearing into the Tevez affair. If a new hearing was held, which is doubtful, and they decided that West Ham should be deducted three points, then the Hammers would be tied with Sheffield United, but West Ham would go down because they have a goal difference that’s one goal worse than Sheffield United.

Rather than relegate West Ham, the Premier League could decide (as Sheffield United suggests) to allow the Blades to stay in the league thereby allowing 21 teams next season instead of 20. I don’t see that happening, but it would avoid the issue of West Ham countersuing.

The most likely outcome is that the arbitration panel will decide that West Ham received significant punishment. I don’t agree with that, but I’d be surprised if the panel judges in Sheffield’s favor.

Again, the timing of the release of the 07/08 fixtures for the Premier League season on June 14 is crucial. The Premier League could argue during the arbitration hearing that because the fixtures have been released that it would be unreasonable to change them.

Further complicating the matters for the Premier League is Fulham’s insistance that they plan on calling for arbitration hearings too regarding the West Ham decision despite the fact that the remaining Premier League clubs voiced their opinions against in the move in the Premier League’s annual general meeting in late May.

Expect a huge amount of media coverage on the Premier League after the arbitration hearing closes on Tuesday, June 19.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

11 Responses to The Politics of Football: Sheffield United & Premier League

  1. billeshears says:

    I still don’t see anything happening over it. Yeah, it was mishandled, but the entire Premier League agreed to the method of handling it. I still think it is a leap to jump from that to saying that that is responsible for W. Ham being relegated.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The punishment was just. Anyone saying otherwise doesn’t know or understand the f*cking case. Whatever, I’m done listening to the West Ham bashing. We deserve to stay up, end of story.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The punishment wasn’t just. Anyone saying otherwise doesn’t know or understand the f*cking case. Whatever, I’m done listening to the Sheffield United bashing. West Ham don’t deserve to stay up, end of story.

  4. Anonymous says:

    West Ham broke the regulations concerning the two Argentinians transfer. This illegal action proved to give them an advantage over the other relegation candidates. They were fined heavily, because the FA recognised the enourmity of their cheating. However the punishment didn’t fit the crime, a fact recognised by everyone except W.Ham and it’s fans. Justice demands that a transgressor should not benefit from a crime. If justice is served, West Ham should lose at least 3 points, and therefore be relegated. The argument that it was a former regime at the club that was at fault, holds no water, as the present regime benefitted from that illegal act. The best message the FA could send to all transgressors is to relegate them, and reinstate the innocent party that paid the real price of cheating administrators.

  5. tim says:

    Question: Over the whole season was the argies arrival at upton park more of an advantage or a dis-advantage to the Hammers?

    Question: Will Sheffield United now set out every season banking on someone else getting points deducted so they can survive?

    Statement. The SUFC chairman is making his club a laughing stock. He doesnt understand the case, the crime or the punishment.

    There has never been a points deduction for off-the-field third-party technicalities. only fines.

    STOP youre whinging and get on with the fizzy pop league because you were simply not good enough for the Premiership.

  6. Anonymous says:

    There is no set precedent for the offence committed and the so the punushment handed out was the first of it’s kind. it WASN’T about Tevez’s registration as a West Ham player.

    THAT has never been in dispute, even FIFA have said it was ok.

    It is Sheffield trying to get a decision by Media

  7. Anonymous says:

    you can tell only west ham fans come on this site!!!!!!!!!

    I am a sheffield united fan and proud. I will be going to all the matches if possible next season no matter what league we are in.

    I believe that we were not good enough for the premiership as we did techical go down.

    But the arguement is would west ham have stayed up if tevez was playing in just the last few games after the punishment. Answer is no you would have finished below us. So why were west ham allowed to register someone outside of a transfer window??

    That is unfair, and is what I believe should not have been allowed

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget that West Ham were gifted three points against Blackburn due to incompetent officials. Where would they be if not for that?…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just suppose West Ham hadn’t had such a shocking start to the season but all the Tevez stuff still came out. What if they had played like they did the season before and were challenging for a UEFA cup spot? Can you imagine Spurs, Bolton, Everton, Reading, Portsmouth and Blackburn being happy with the way it was all handled. What if West Ham had nicked the fourth Champions League spot from Arsenal? Do you really think they would just “take it on the chin” and “get on with it”? The fact that it’s a relegated club that are complaining just makes it easier to discount. It doesn’t make it right or just.

  10. Johnathan says:

    I think the shocking story to all of this is the fact that there was no penalty in place before this whole mess ever happened.

    My personal opinion is that nothing will change next season, but they need to add on the books that if you caught with an illegal player, all points in matches said player played in will be deducted. It’s the only redeeming thing that can come out of this whole mess.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Quote: “This illegal action proved to give them an advantage over the other relegation candidates”

    You complete knob head. It gave West Ham a DISADVANTAGE not an advantage. Tevez was legitimately registered let’s get that sorted first. What West Ham were guilty of was that they left themselves open to being forced to sell Tevez when they didn’t want to. How the hell is that an advantage to them????

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