According to Mr Scudamore, "What West Ham did and what actually happened was wrong and those players should not have been entered into the league on that basis. However, having said that, on the rules as drafted then, WE COULD HAVE EASILY WORKED WITH WEST HAM PROBABLY TO HAVE CRAFTED THOSE AGREEMENTS SO THAT THEY DID FIT WITHIN THE RULES…HAD THEY COME TO US UPFRONT AND DISCUSSED IT UPFRONT, WE COULD HAVE PROBABLY REGULARISED THOSE AGREEMENTS".
So the question arises, why didn't the club discuss it up front? Who advised the owners not to do so exactly? Now I may be wrong, but my memory tells me that Scott Duxbury was the club's legal adviser at the time and I am certain that he was at the club during the whole Tevez affair.
Mr Scudamore also says that the punishment meted out to West Ham was appropriate and questions the legitimacy of Shafting United's compensation claim. The question therefore arises as to why, exactly, the club agreed to pay the Blunted Blades the huge compensation figure of, reportedly, £20m+.
In the interview Mr Scudamore also objects to Third Party Agreements because of the issue of "sporting integrity" clarifying this by saying that a player should be at a club "primarily as a playing asset" and not with a view of him being "moved on" for financial gain.
Now that is interesting given Watford's present policy. Fair enough if all these "loanees" sign permanently for the club, but if Vydra and co are sold on, and the profit goes back to Udinese, then is it possible that "sporting integrity", by Scudamore's definition, would not be upheld? Or am I being stupid for even thinking this a possibility? Probably.
Now I am sure that Mr Duxbury, for example, is able to answer these points to everybody's satisfaction. I am not in any way suggesting that he said or did anything dishonest personally, nor that the compensation paid to Sheffield United was designed to cover anything up. Nor am I suggesting that anybody acted incompetently, gave bad advice to the club, nor that this was later compounded by still more incompetence. Any such suggestion would unquestionably be absurd. There must be very valid reasons for the decisions taken.
However, in the interests of clarity, it would be wonderful to hear some sort of response to Mr Scudamore's comments. Based on what Mr Scudamore has said, every West Ham fan would, I am sure, like to hear why:
1) The club broke the rules in the first place.
2) Why there was not an honest admittance of rule breaking and an attempt to find the common ground that Mr Scudamore suggests could have been negotiated.
3) Why the compensation was agreed with Sheffield United.
Further, football fans up and down the land would probably like to hear a view on "sporting integrity" and the present arrangement between Watford and Udinese in the light of Mr Scudamore's definition.
As I have already said, I am sure this can all be explained to everybody's satisfaction, but idiots like myself would appreciate hearing that explanation because, quick frankly, we are bemused. Why, given what Mr Scudamore has said, did we ever get into the mess we got into at West Ham; and are Watford currently testing "sporting integrity" whilst exploiting, in Mr Holloway's words, "a loophole"?
You can hear Mr Scudamore's interview by following this link:
(With thanks to Stani!)