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Hammers Handed Fine, Tevez Ban, but No Deduction
The Guardian , April 27th, 2007 4PM

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You have to wonder after West Ham United was slapped with a record fine but no point deduction for deceiving the English Premier League if the presiding commission simply didn't want to disturb the good ole fashioned relegation fight taking place at the bottom of the league table. Had there been a point-deduction, as many expected, 19th-place West Ham's chances of staying up would be dashed -- and the final stretch of the season would have been a little less exciting.

Indeed, if West Ham manages to stay up it would be one of the remarkable late-season comebacks by a bottom three team. Almost certainly headed for the drop six weeks ago, after a heartbreaking last-minute home defeat to Tottenham, the Hammers have won four of their last six games since, bringing them within four points of relegation safety with three games to play. On Saturday, West Ham faces 16th-place Wigan Athletic. A win would erase the three-point gap that separates the two clubs.

Ironically, Carlos Tevez, the man who's played such a prominent role in West Ham's late resurgence, was at the center of the controversy that resulted in a record $11 million fine for the club. The Premier League found that the Hammers had breached Premier League transfer rules by closely involving a third party in the signing of Tevez and fellow Argentine Javier Mascherano from Brazilian club Corinthians. Tevez now will not be able to play again until a more legitimate arrangement has been made. West Ham is said to be finalizing that now before clash at Wigan. Mascherano, meanwhile, is on loan to Liverpool, where his contract had already been regularized.

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