Rafa attacks League over Heinze move
The simmering tension between Liverpool and Manchester United over the Gabriel Heinze saga became verbal warfare today as Anfield boss Rafael Benitez launched a staggering attack on the Premier League and the Old Trafford club.
Heinze has had his attempts to join Liverpool blocked by a Premier League hearing, that sided with United over who they could sell the player to once their £6.8million valuation had been met.
But not only has Benitez attacked the Premier League decision, which could leave Heinze's career in limbo until his contract ends, he has also directed his fury at the Old Trafford hierarchy.
In a Liverpool Echo interview, Benitez claims decisions are being taken which favour Liverpool's old rivals with yesterday's dismissal of Heinze's bid to move to Anfield the latest setback.
Benitez said: 'I would like to ask the Premier League a number of questions. How can a player with a signed agreement be treated like this?
'He has a document which is clear, but the Premier League prefers to believe the word of someone else who made a mistake. I know there were accusations made against Liverpool in the hearing which were unbelievable. How can this be allowed?'
And broadening his attack from the Heinze issue, Benitez said: 'Then I would like to ask the Premier League why is it that Liverpool always plays the most fixtures away from home in an early kick-off, following an international break?
'We had more than the top clubs last season and we have four already to prepare for this season.
'Then I want to ask the Premier League why it was so difficult for Liverpool to sign Javier Mascherano, when we had to wait a long time for the paperwork, but it was so easy for Carlos Tevez to join Manchester United?'
Mascherano joined Liverpool from West Ham in the January transfer window and the deal took weeks to clear as the row over third party ownership of players at Upton Park raged on.
The Tevez move to Old Trafford took less time to approve, with the Argentina star's representatives paying West Ham £2m to release his registration in time to beat the transfer deadline.
Benitez added: 'It's going to be very difficult for us to win the Premier League because the other teams are so strong, but I want our supporters to know that despite the disadvantages we have, we will fight all the way.
'We will fight to cope with our more difficult kick-off times and all the other decisions which are going against us.'
But it is the Heinze decision, stopping Liverpool buying the defender who believed he had a letter clearing his exit for a set sum, that has upset Benitez most.
He now must consider contingency plans knowing that any appeal by Heinze may not be concluded by the time the transfer window shuts at the end of August.
An appeal panel on the Premier League's decision will include a PFA representative and a high ranking member of the legal profession.
Heinze remains optimistic an appeal will be accepted and is in no mood to give up on his hopes of moving to Liverpool.
His solicitor, Richard Green said: 'We are extremely disappointed with the result and we will be appealing.'
It is being suggested that United would be happy for Heinze to be loaned out to a mid-table Premier League side or agree to a transfer overseas, with Lyon at the front of the queue while Real Madrid have also been linked with a move for the Argentinian.
The Premier League are disappointed by Benitez's comments.
A spokesman said: 'The Premier League tried to make sure that our dealings with all our member clubs, including the scheduling of fixtures, are as fair as possible.
'We are disappointed to read Rafael Benitez's comments in the press, especially when channels exist for every member club to raise any issues directly with the league.'