West Ham face new £7m lawsuit over Tevez deal

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The Independent Online

The saga surrounding Carlos Tevez's controversial season at West Ham United is set to rumble on for up to another nine months with the player's representative Kia Joorabchian suing the Premier League club for £7m.

West Ham said yesterday they will contest vigorously the claim by Joorabchian, which relates to alleged unpaid fees and costs, while the businessman himself is understood to be bullish about his chances and is also prepared for the issue to go to court.

Events will also be monitored closely by Sheffield United, who were relegated to the Championship last season but have tried to get West Ham demoted for fielding Tevez after being found guilty of breaching the rules on third-party ownership. A Football Association arbitration panel is due to rule next month on their claim.

Joorabchian has filed a writ at the Chancery Division of the High Court although it may take several weeks for the particulars of claim to be lodged and a further nine months for it to come to court – although it's highly unlikely, given the potential for embarrassment on all sides, that events will go that far. According to the writ, Joorabchian is seeking an outstanding sum of £4.5m, plus a further £2.6m which, he alleges, was due to be paid to him by West Ham on 31 January.

Joorabchian is claiming he has documentary and taped evidence to back his case. He is not seeking any money on behalf of Tevez but is claiming he is entitled to payments relating to loan fees, insurance for the player and other agents' fees he believes he was contractually entitled to.

The first part of the claim is understood to be linked to promises made by the club's former chairman, Terry Brown, and managing director, Paul Aldridge, who negotiated the original loan deal which took Tevez and Argentine team-mate Javier Mascherano to West Ham in August 2006.

The £2.6m is understood to relate to a verbal agreement Joorabchian says he had with Eggert Magnusson – the club's former chairman and frontman for the Icelandic takeover by billionaire Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson in November 2006 – who has since sold his stake and left the club.

West Ham maintain no verbal or written agreements exist to back up Joorabchian's claims. They also believe that any outstanding issues with Joorabchian or Tevez's owners, Just Sports Inc and Media Sports Investment, were settled by last August's out-of-court deal which secured the player's transfer to Manchester United. Then West Ham were paid £2m by the agents for the release of Tevez's registration. United agreed to pay Just Sport and MSI a £5m loan fee plus £5m a year to Tevez in wages. The deal avoided a court battle which could have cost West Ham £35m.

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