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West Ham in the Premiership next year

John Simkin

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Story just posted on the BBC website:


Sheffield United's bid to regain their Premiership status appears to be over after their bid to see West Ham docked points was dismissed.

An arbitration panel upheld the Premier League's decision not to dock the Hammers points over the signings of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.

Sheffield United launched an appeal after they went down on the last day of the season and West Ham stayed up.

West Ham had earlier been fined £5.5m for their handling of the duo's deals.

A statement on Sheffield United's website said: "We are obviously very disappointed by this conclusion.

"In particular, in circumstances where the tribunal recognised that the outcome of the decision turned out to be 'unfortunate in the extreme', and that Sheffield United have done nothing wrong to merit this outcome."

The Blades had wanted the panel to order a new disciplinary commission to deal with the London club.

Sheffield United also lost another claim - made jointly with Fulham - that the Premier League should have forced West Ham to de-register Tevez.

A statement from the arbitration panel read: "The tribunal have found in favour of the FA Premier League on both issues and dismissed the claims of Sheffield United FC and Fulham FC."

The three-man panel, headed by retired High Court judge Sir Philip Otton, did not have the power to change West Ham's punishment but could have ordered a new independent commission to judge the case.

The ruling from the arbitration panel said Sheffield United would not normally have been allowed to dispute another club's punishment but that there were "exceptional circumstances" due to their relegation which affected their membership of the Premier League.

The tribunal said they had "sympathy" with the Blades, while West Ham had been "deliberately deceitful" and yet remained in the Premier League.

But they said they could not rule that the independent commission's decision had been wrong to fine West Ham in the first place.

The panel's ruling stated: "The tribunal had much sympathy for Sheffield United's grievances.

"However the tribunal had to apply the principles of judicial review and determine whether the decision was irrational or perverse.

"This is a very strict test and is very difficult to satisfy.

"It concluded that it was impossible for this tribunal to find that the decision was irrational or perverse."

The decision makes it all but certain that United will be playing in the Championship next season.

In relation to Sheffield United's and Fulham's claim that the Premier League should have immediately terminated Tevez's registration, the tribunal ruled they had acted reasonably in allowing the Argentina striker to play in the last three games of the season.

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