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By ESPN Staff
Oct 13, 2008

West Ham take steps to defy crisis talk

West Ham United are aiming to shake off any image of the club being in crisis by stepping up their legal fight against Sheffield United and announcing a new signing.

The club have sent a legal submission to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) claiming that FIFA rules will be breached if they do not agree to hear their appeal over the Carlos Tevez affair.

The club are also hopeful of agreeing a deal with 32-year-old Spanish striker Diego Tristan, who is currently a free agent, to show there are signs of stability amid the global financial crisis that has struck hard at the club's Icelandic owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson.

In relation to the Tevez affair, the Hammers are disputing the independent tribunal ruling against them which could see the club forced to pay millions in compensation to Sheffield United.

That tribunal was brought under Football Association rules which also state that no appeal is permitted to a court of law, but in their legal submission to CAS, West Ham have argued that the FA rules would be in breach of FIFA statutes if they did not allow for an appeal to the Swiss-based arbitration court.

Sheffield United are disputing whether CAS have jurisdiction and the court in Lausanne, Switzerland, will now hold a preliminary hearing to decide whether they are able to deal with the case.

In their argument against an appeal, the Blades have pointed to the dispute between Ashley Cole and the Premier League in 2005, where CAS said they did not have jurisdiction to hear an appeal from the player over his £75,000 fine imposed by the league for holding unauthorised talks with Chelsea while he was still at Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Gudmundsson is continuing to insist he views West Ham as a personal investment that will not be affected by the Icelandic banking crisis.

Pressure is growing for all Icelandic banks' overseas investments to be liquidised to allow the money to be sent back to the country to ease the crisis, but Gudmundsson has assured fellow directors he has no intention of selling the club.

City sources believe however that there is an appetite for another foreign takeover despite the credit crunch - with the Middle East the most likely origin of any possible offer should Gudmundsson change his mind.

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