Inquiry blow to Hammers sale hopes

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West Ham owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson's hopes of selling the club for a big profit have suffered a fresh blow after the Premier League announced a new investigation into the Carlos Tevez scandal.

The Icelandic banker is looking for buyers to ease his financial problems.

But Thursday's announcement of a new inquiry, to be conducted jointly by the Football Association and the Premier League, is another blow following last year's defeat by Sheffield United in an arbitration tribunal that leaves the Hammers facing a payout of millions in compensation.

The Hammers were fined £5.5million in 2007 for breaching league rules over third-party agreements in signing Tevez, and the new inquiry will focus on the club's dealings with his representatives after the initial punishment. That means there is the threat of further sanctions for the club.

It follows the arbitration tribunal chaired by Lord Griffiths, who ruled in favour of Sheffield United and pointed the finger at West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury.

The key point to be investigated is the evidence provided to the tribunal by lawyer Graham Shear, solicitor for Tevez's agent Kia Joorabchian.

Shear said that Duxbury had provided verbal assurances, or "oral cuddles", that the third-party agreement still existed - despite the Hammers chief having informed the Premier League that the agreement had been terminated.

Griffiths said in his findings: "If the Premier League had known what Mr Duxbury for West Ham was saying to Mr Joorabchian's solicitor following the commission decision, we are confident that the Premier League would have suspended Mr Tevez's registration as a West Ham player.

"We have no doubt that those [Tevez's] services were worth at least three points to West Ham over the season and were what made the difference between West Ham remaining in the Premiership and being relegated at the end of the season."

The inquiry means West Ham or individuals could face further disciplinary action but the club say they have nothing to hide from the new inquiry.

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Carlos Tevez
Premier League
Sheffield United
West Ham United

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