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Sep 24, 2008

West Ham to appeal £30m compensation ruling?

West Ham United could approach the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland after an independent arbitration panel ruled against them in the Carlos Tevez affair, a decision which could cost the club as much as £30 million.

On Monday Sheffield Untied emerged victorious from a 16-month battle for compensation following their relegation from the Premier League in 2007.

The East London club survived at the Blades' expense with Tevez proving to be inspirational as the club won seven of their last nine games. However, Tevez's role in the West Ham's great escape was controversial because his registration breached league rules on third-party ownership.

At the time West Ham were fined £5.5 million but were not deducted any points and Tevez was allowed to continue playing, all of which incensed Sheffield United who argued they should have paid a heavier price.

Most galling for United fans was Tevez's goal in West Ham's shock 1-0 away win against Manchester United on the last day of the 2006-07 season: that goal garnered the three points which ensured the Hammers' top flight status and condemned the Blades.

Although a decision on the size of the compensation payout has yet to be made, the South Yorkshire club have claimed they are set for a figure of £30 million, which equates to a season of lost Premier League revenues.

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.''

Whether the CAS, based in Lausanne, would be able to intervene in the saga remains unclear, not least because the arbitration process, which was conducted under Football Association rules, stipulates that neither club has the right to appeal the panel's decision.

Neil Warnock, who was in charge of Sheffield United at the time, said of the ruling: ''I think everyone in the country knows this is the right verdict. They [United] have only claimed for one season [in lost revenues] and what they would have missed out on the field and off the field.

''This justifies what [Blades chairman] 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.''

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