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Nov 26, 2008

West Ham appeal decision to block CAS application

The Carlos Tevez affair shows no sign of ending after West Ham United lodged an immediate appeal against a High Court judge's decision to bar them from going to Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a bid to prevent a massive payout to Sheffield United.

Mr Justice Teare ruled the Hammers could not go to the CAS in Lausanne, finding in favour of the Blades who claimed this was a breach of the arbitration agreement between the clubs and that the CAS had no jurisdiction to hear such an appeal.

"On the totality of the evidence, we have no doubt that West Ham would have secured at least three fewer points over the 2006/7 season if Carlos Tevez had not been playing for the club," the judgement read.

The judgement was only temporary, however, meaning the Championship side would always have to go back to the High Court next year to win a permanent injuction. But now West Ham have appealed the initial injuction which will put a further delay on the compensation hearing.

If they lose, West Ham face a huge compensation bill. An independent tribunal had found in Sheffield United's favour some weeks ago but the Hammers want to take the case to the CAS to prevent a pay-out which could be anything from £30 million to £50 million.

The case surrounds the registration of Carlos Tevez and the legality of him playing for West Ham towards the end of the 2006/07 season after an inquiry ruled his registration was against Premier League rules.

The Argentina international, now on loan at Manchester United from investment group MSI which owns his registration, played an integral role in keeping the Hammers in the top flight - including scoring the only goal of the game in a win at Old Trafford. That, coupled with the Blades' 2-1 defeat at home to Wigan Athletic, sent Sheffield United down.

The Blades have long claimed they are owed compensation as Tevez should never have been on the pitch in the final weeks of the season. And, after an 18-month battle, there still appears to be no end in sight. There has also been suggestion that the clubs' players could sue West Ham for loss of earnings.

The ruling has come as a further financial blow to West Ham after the collapse of the club's sponsors, holiday firm XL, as well as the collapse of Icelandic bank Landsbanki. Owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson has seen much of his wealth disappear after the bank, of which he was chairman and a major shareholder, hit trouble. They know they must fight using every avenue possible to avoid paying compensation to the South Yorkshire club.

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