Monday, March 16

Tevezgate: the endgame

So we've finally reached a settlement with Sheffield United over the Jarndyce and Jarndyce (sorry, Tevez and Tevez) case... Looks like we'll pay £15 million over five years, which is frankly better than the early figures of £45 million.

It still seems utterly farcical that the case should rest on what "oral cuddles" were given and whether one player can single-handedly win games. And the Premier League must surely take much of the blame for allowing third-party owned players to play here in the first place and then having no clear policy on the issue... we're paying the price for their lack of leadership. The law is not so much an ass as a Tony-Adams-sized Donkey.

Meanwhile Gudmundsson has been given a further three months to try to sell the club by the Icelandic bankrupcy courts. Once owners were custodians of clubs. What this case illustrates is the idiocy of rich men from overseas trying to buy our footballing heritage and offering used third-party owned players as sweeteners... and then the club being sold to a different foreign owner who promises untold wealth and Champions League football only to become brassic from owning a toxic bank.

The safeguards are much more effective in Germany and Spain. Anyone concerned about our game should read David Conn's excellent The Beautiful Game?

Nice to see that Sheffield United's chairman Kevin McCabe said: "We are happy and satisfied with the settlement with West Ham.

"Throughout the finalisation of the terms for the agreement, the discussions were friendly, co-operative and in the best of spirit with both the Blades and Hammers advisory teams."

Yes, quite. Although having once paid in £300 from the penny collection at my daughters' school (we had to take it to the bank in plastic dustbins) you do wonder if we could pay the entire £15 million in one and two pence pieces...

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