After a Football Association appointed arbitration hearing ruled in the favor of Sheffield United earlier this week, lawyers in England must have smelled blood because now up to 12 Sheffield United players who were relegated at the end of the 2006/2007 season are seeking legal advice regarding the possibility of suing West Ham United for loss of earnings.
And so they should.
West Ham United and its fans should be very concerned about the financial stability of the club due to the way the club cheated in the 2006/2007 season when it lied to the Premier League about documents withheld regarding Carlos Tevez. With a damages hearing scheduled soon, West Ham may be forced to pay Sheffield United £30 million in compensation. This is in addition to the £5 million fine that West Ham has already paid. Now the threat of lawsuits from the players, coupled with the loss of their main sponsor, could send West Ham into severe financial trouble.
Meanwhile, West Ham United’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) looks doomed for failure as CAS will only hear the case if both Sheffield United and West Ham United agree.
Now that the Football Association appointed arbitration hearing has ruled in the favor of Sheffield United, the club’s players have every right to sue West Ham. If Tevez didn’t play for West Ham that season, the Hammers would have been relegated and the Sheffield United players would have benefitted financially from keeping the club in the top division.
Some of the players at the Bramall Lane club suffered pay cuts of between 30% and 50% when they were relegated.
According to The Guardian, “Given the various cuts to bonuses and pay negotiated in the individual contracts it is not known what the total claim against West Ham from the players would be, but it would be a significant addition to the fine of up to £30m that the Hammers will have to pay Sheffield United.”
With the amount of money West Ham United may end up paying to get out of this whole mess, it sends a clear message to Premier League clubs that cheats don’t prosper despite what the back cover picture at the top of this story says.