Sheffield United have announced they plan to sue West Ham for the cost of their relegation from the Premier League.
The Blades failed last month in their high court bid to force new Premier League disciplinary action against West Ham over the Carlos Tevez affair; they had hoped to pave the way for a retrospective points deduction that would send West Ham down while keeping United in the top flight. Once that avenue of attack was cut off, they revealed they would consider suing West Ham for compensation of between £30m and £50m.
"After consideration and discussion with our legal advisers Sheffield United are today initiating legal proceedings against West Ham United as we seek substantial compensation for our relegation from the Premier League," said Toby Craig, a member of the club's legal team.
"This action is distinct from the arbitration proceedings between the club and the Premier League during the close season," he continued. "We have always said that we will do everything in our power to secure justice for Sheffield United and restore the integrity of English football which has been tarnished by this affair. Once proceedings have been issued we will await a response from West Ham before making any further statements."
United were relegated to the Championship after finishing three points behind the Hammers, whose only penalty for including banned clauses in the contracts of Tevez and Javier Mascherano - and then deliberately concealing them from the Premier League authorities - was a £5.5m fine. By maintaining their Premier League status this season, West Ham secured a share of the television rights money worth in excess of £30m.
True Sheffield got robbed last year but if they can get promoted as Derby can attest they stand to make twice that television rights money and will be better suited for success next season. Of course adding $30M from West Ham's coffers surely wouldn't hurt that effort as well.