Backgrounder: the Tevez affair
Updated on 13 June 2007
As Sheffield United fans, led by actor Sean Bean, march on Westminister Channel 4 News online explains the background to the 'Tevez affair'.
Not long after the start of the 2006-7 Premier League season, on 31 August 2006, West Ham United acquired the services of Argentinian internationals Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. The club chairman at the time was Terence Brown.
Questions subsequently arose over the validity of the players' contracts. Before coming to the UK Tevez and Mascherano had both played for the Brazilian club Corinthians, which is run by Media Sports Investments (MSI), an international fund of investors.
Both footballers were effectively owned by MSI when they began their playing careers with the London club. However, Premier League rules ban the ownership of players by third parties for fear that the integrity of matches could be compromised if players are under the influence of parties only indirectly connected to the club for which they play.
On 27 April 2007 West Ham, by now owned by an Icelandic consortium led by Eggert Magnusson, were fined a record £5.5m for acting improperly and withholding vital documentation over the duo's ownership.
The FA Premier League found that the club had accepted terms for the players that they suspected broke Premiership rules because they were under pressure to complete the deal before the 31 August transfer deadline.
West Ham's former managing director, Paul Aldridge, was found to have lied to the Premier League over the existence of documentation that should have been submitted.
The club's guilty plea and the fact that it was now under new ownership and management meant that the Hammers did not suffer a points deduction.
Despite languishing near the bottom of the Premiership table for most of 2006-7, West Ham's turbulent season concluded with them winning seven of their last nine matches.
Pen pics: Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano
Aged 23, Carlos Tevez is regarded as one of Argentinian football's most promising talents. He played for Boca Juniors in Argentina and Corinthians in Brazil before coming to West Ham United as an attacking midfielder. Inter Milan are currently rumoured to be preparing a bid for him.
Also 23, Javier Mascherano attracted the interest of major European clubs after playing as a defensive midfielder in every game of Argentina's 2006 World Cup campaign. He moved from West Ham to Liverpool in January 2007.
Their final game saw them defeat Premiership champions Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford. Carlos Tevez scored the deciding goal.
That win meant that West Ham finished the season three points above Sheffield United, who were relegated in 18th position.
Had West Ham finished the season level on points with Sheffield United, the Hammers would have gone down because of inferior goal difference.
Today's visit to the House of Commons by a Sheffield United delegation, led by actor Sean Bean, is to protest at decision to fine West Ham, rather than deduct points, for breaking Premier League rules.
A Premier League arbitration panel will meet on 18 June to hear Sheffield United's claim against the failure to dock points from West Ham. The panel will be able to consider only the process of the original commission of investigation, not its decision.
However, if the process is deemed to have been faulty, then it could mean a review of West Ham's punishment.