Sheffield United have announced that a Football Association arbitration panel has ruled in the club's favour over a compensation claim relating to the Carlos Tevez affair.
Reports suggest that West Ham could be forced to pay the Blades around £30million to cover their loss of income after relegation to the Championship in May 2007. The official figure has yet to be confirmed.
The FA failed to dock the Hammers any points despite a wide ranging series of rule breaches surrounding the purchase of Tevez and Javier Mascherano in August 2006 with the club failing to properly disclose the link between the players and Media Sports Investments (MSI). Premier League rules state that players cannot be owned by a third party.
The East London side were fined just £5.5million by the FA as an independent panel made the judgement just weeks before the end of the 2006/07 campaign.
Tevez was instrumental in West Ham superb late season form which saw them transformed from relegation certainties to surviving on the final day as the Argentinian scored the only goal of the game at, coincidentally, Manchester United.
The Blades initially tried to get their relegation overturned but after being unsuccessful in that attempt turn their attention to compensation for the loss of income relegation from the Premier League brings.
The club today issued a statement on their official website, claiming success in that case, although the exact nature of the compensation is as yet unclear.
Newspaper reports suggest the Blades could be looking for a figure of around £30million, while chairman Kevin McCabe is on record as saying that relegation cost United at least £50million in lost revenues.
Chairman Kevin McCabe McCabe said this morning: "I can confirm that both clubs have been notified of the ruling. The arbitration panel has awarded in our favour.
"The matter is still legally in process so I do not wish to comment any further until we have completed that process.''
Intriguingly, the club statement also raises the question of a further intervention by the Premier League.
It read: "The Blades began their legal fight for reinstatement some 16 months which also included an arbitration hearing against the Premier League. This award could now pose a question as to what the Premier League will do.''
A statement released by the Hammers read: "The club need to digest the full findings of the arbitration panel and will consult lawyers before considering the next steps that we might take on this matter. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage."
Former United manager Neil Warnock welcomed the verdict as "a matter for justice''.
But Crystal Palace boss Warnock, who later left Bramall Lane after the club were relegated as the Argentina striker fired the Hammers to safety, believes the money is a poor substitute for the future his side could have enjoyed in the Premier League.
"It's a matter for justice and I think everyone in the country knows this is the right verdict,'' he told Sky Sports News. "They have only claimed for one season (in lost revenues) and what they would have missed out on on the field and off the field.
"That's what it comes to in today's game. It's not an awful lot at the top level...it's one good player.
"This justifies what Kevin McCabe has said all along: that we were hard done by, that it wasn't done legally and we were fighting for our rights.
"It's the principle of the whole thing. We were appalled by the original verdict.''
Reflecting on the effect relegation to the Coca-Cola Championship had on the Blades, he added: "It was scandalous. It changed one or two lives and it shouldn't have happened. This verdict puts your faith back into the justice system.''
"The club itself is geared up for the top level and it knocked us back no end. I think we would be doing very well (in the Premier League). It (relegation) is on my CV, which it shouldn't be.''
Announcing the arbitration panel's findings, McCabe this morning said: "I can confirm that both clubs have been notified of the ruling.
"The arbitration panel has awarded in our favour. The matter is still legally in process so I do not wish to comment any further until we have completed that process.''