Sheffield United today embarked on their final legal challenge over the Carlos Tevez affair in an effort to win compensation for being relegated a year ago.
The Blades have taken West Ham to an arbitration hearing and are seeking between £30m and £50m in compensation.
The Coca-Cola Championship club claim the Hammers are to blame for their relegation from the Premier League a year ago, and for playing Tevez, who they claim was ineligible.
West Ham have refused any opportunity to settle before the hearing and insist they have a robust case, based mainly on the grounds that they had provided all the relevant information about Tevez to the Premier League, who then declared the striker eligible after the Hammers had been fined £5.5m for breaching rules on third-party ownership of players.
Sheffield United lost an arbitration hearing against the Premier League last year and this action, which takes place under the auspices of the Football Association, is their last throw of the dice.
The Blades are hoping Tevez’s representative, Kia Joorabchian, may provide some new information that may persuade the latest panel to find in their favour.
Tevez moved from West Ham to Manchester United last summer after Joorabchian’s company, Media Sports Investments, agreed to pay the London club £2m.
The hearing, which is taking place behind closed doors in London, has been pencilled in for 10 days, with a decision to be reached towards the end of the month.
Joorabchian still has a court case of his own pending against West Ham in which he claims the club owes him £7.1m.