It's over at last

IT IS almost three years since Carlos Tevez joined West Ham in a move that shocked the footballing world, WRITES DAVE EVANS. The little Argentinian and his compatriot Javier Mascherano were paraded before the world s media at Upton Park in August 2006, al

IT IS almost three years since Carlos Tevez joined West Ham in a move that shocked the footballing world, WRITES DAVE EVANS.

The little Argentinian and his compatriot Javier Mascherano were paraded before the world's media at Upton Park in August 2006, along with their slightly bemused new manager Alan Pardew, but none of that triumvirate could have imagined what was in store in the future.

At then end of last week, the problems that have beset the Hammers ever since the signing of the South American duo were finally put to rest when the Premier League and the FA decided that no further action was going to be taken in the long-winded case.

The joint Premier League and FA statement read: "A joint inquiry has reached its conclusions after considering whether the conduct of West Ham United immediately after the independent disciplinary commission's decision of April 27, 2007, amounted to further breaches of the rules.


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"The inquiry was instituted to consider the views expressed by the Independent Arbitral Tribunal, chaired by Lord Griffiths in September 2008, which dealt with a compensation claim by Sheffield United brought using the FA's arbitration process.

"The inquiry has concluded that on the basis of evidence available to them, there is no prima facie case that West Ham United and/or its officials did commit any further breaches of Premier League or FA rules immediately after the independent commission's decision."

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And so comes to an end the whole shoddy business.

Tevez played just 29 games for the Hammers, scoring seven goals - a record that Lord Griffiths concluded was the reason West Ham stayed in the Premier League in 2007.

He and Mascherano's arrival probably contributed more than anything to the sacking of Pardew in November 2007 as he never wanted the players and didn't really know how to utilise them.

Tevez also helped the Hammers to perhaps the greatest escape in Premier League history, scoring the goal at Old Trafford against champions Manchester United that kept West Ham up at the expense of Sheffield United.

He also brought the strange figure of agent Kia Joorabchian to the club, a situation that has only just been terminated by West Ham, following the end of his so-called consultation status.

Since Tevez's departure, he has won two Premier League winners medals, won and lost in the Champions League Final, joined the richest club in the world in Manchester City and oh, he hasn't learned English yet!

So who benefitted from the whole sorry saga?

Not West Ham. They may have stayed up, but an initial �5.5million fine, was followed by an out-of-court settlement to Sheffield United of �26million paid over the next five years.

Not football. The whole ridiculous saga with the game being dragged through the courts has been an embarrassment to the Premier League, and this latest decision not to pursue the matter any further was inevitably the best way to forget about the whole thing.

The decision will be a huge relief to the club, who have felt victimised and pilloried by courts and tribunals. It has been a costly exercise, but to finally get this monkey off their backs will move on the process of a possible takeover.

So who has won? Well, Sheffield United have been paid off despite being poor enough to be relegated over a whole season rather than just one game.

And of course the big winners - as always - are the lawyers. However stupid the case and whatever the result, they always get paid.

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