West Ham will take their fight against a Football Association arbitration panel's ruling on the Carlos Tevez affair to the highest court in sport, the club confirmed today.
The Hammers, who could face a hefty pay-out as Sheffield United are demanding £30million in compensation for being relegated instead of them last year, are to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The club will argue that they have already been punished for breaching Premier League rules over the signing of the Argentina striker.
They will also say that Tevez's contribution to the 2006/7 season cannot be taken in isolation.
Meanwhile, West Ham are standing behind chief executive Scott Duxbury despite reports his position is under threat because he was their legal adviser at the time of the saga.
The club said in a statement on their website whufc.com: "West Ham United can confirm today that our lawyers are drafting a statement of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in relation to the case involving the club and Sheffield United.
"While we respect the judgement of the FA arbitration panel, we do not accept that one player's contribution can be placed over that of the team as a whole nor used as the basis for judging the results of a 38-game season.
"This ruling undermines the significant efforts of our entire playing squad and coaching staff over the duration of the 2006/07 Premier League season and does not take sufficient account of the performances of the other 19 clubs in the competition.
"We acknowledge again that the club broke Premier League rules in the original signing of Carlos Tevez but we were dealt with accordingly by an independent Premier League commission and accepted the significant punishment handed down at that time.
"In light of this and the wider implications of this latest ruling for English football we have decided to ask that the case be considered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport."
The tribunal's findings stated Tevez's services were worth at least three points to West Ham over the season and made the difference between the Hammers remaining in the Premier League and being relegated.
They also said that if talks between Tevez's agent Kia Joorabchian and West Ham had been known to the Premier League they would have prevented him playing the final few matches of the season.
The findings state: "If the Premier League had known what Mr Duxbury for West Ham was saying to Mr Joorabchian's solicitor [Graham Shear] following the commission decision, we are confident the Premier League would have suspended Mr Tevez's registration as a West Ham player."
Duxbury and then-Hammers chairman Eggert Magnusson insist they have never denied meeting Tevez's representatives at that time but that they were only to seek to either keep the player at Upton Park or find a way to sell him that would be approved by the Premier League.
A club spokesman added: "The position of Scott Duxbury is not under review."Reuse content