After a season overshadowed by courtroom battles West Ham United could find themselves in court yet again. This time the Hammers have been hit with a six-figure demand by an agency claiming to have put the club into contact with its title sponsor, SBOBET.
Samson Sport Consultancy lodged its £115,000 demand at the high court on 24 April over what it alleges is unpaid “commission due to it from West Ham for the introduction by Samson to West Ham of Celton Manx Ltd, trading as SBOBET, as a sponsor”.
Two unpaid invoices dated 12 January and 2 March, each for £50,000 plus VAT, were sent to the club’s in-house lawyer, Roger Thompson, in respect of “agency commission: WHUFC and SBOBET principle partnership”. The consultancy would also charge interest, currently running at more than £1,700.
West Ham have yet to file a defence but Vanessa Barnett, of the law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, said: “BLP’s betting and gaming team have an existing relationship with both West Ham United and SBOBET. We were able to make the introduction and finalise this in short order following the insolvency of West Ham’s previous sponsor.”
For a club whose turnover is expected to have approached £100m a year the sum demanded is hardly significant but it will come as an embarrassment, given the litany of litigation it has recently faced. After settling Sheffield United’s claim against them with a £25m out-of-court agreement, there has been talk of other claims. Among those reportedly taking legal advice were Blades players and Leeds United in respect of performance clauses in the contracts of players sold to Bramall Lane.
No Bridge for 2018 Cup
Stamford Bridge has in effect been ruled out of the running to host World Cup 2018 matches after Chelsea’s communications and public affairs director, Simon Greenberg, was made chairman of London’s host-city committee. Greenberg will make public the composition of the London United group, which has been set up as the host-city bidder to stage England 2018 games, in the coming days. If England win the right to host the tournament the capital is guaranteed to be a hostcity since Wembley would be the venue for the final. But representatives of clubs hoping to bid for match-hosting rights will be barred from taking part due to conflict of interest. It is thought that, despite this, the ground will be put forward as a training venue, alongside Chelsea’s Cobham ground.
Adebayor and out
Those few Arsenal fans hoping Emmanuel Adebayor might remain their player this summer are likely to have been disappointed by the club’s marketing of its away kit. A guide had pictures of Cesc Fábregas, Andrey Arshavin, Theo Walcott, Eduardo and Nicklas Bendtner in the new shirt but no Adebayor. That is likely to mean Adebayor, left, moves on or the Gunners’ marketing team have sensed the striker’s name may not shift many shirts.
Championship cash slow
Football League board members have discussed the implications of the Hero Global Football Fund, a Channel Islands registered company, which wants to finance Championship clubs’ transfer spending. With bank lending cut off, six clubs in that division have explored the possibility of opening facilities with the fund. But with third-party ownership banned in the Premier League there is unease about the Fund’s English presence. Whether any hoped-for regulations were detailed in the league’s submission to the government’s seven questions on governance it did not say.
Al Fayed’s little earner
Fulham’s owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, will make the most of any situation. On Sunday at Craven Cottage fans were invited to celebrate their highest league finish (seventh), first direct qualification to European competition and, presumably, a 2-0 home defeat by Everton. How to do so? By buying a £30 bottle of Harrods champagne, of course.