Premier League investigation into Robert Snodgrass's West Bromwich Albion omission against West Ham United brings back Carlos Tevez memories for Sheffield United fans
Fourteen years since they became embroiled in what became known as the Carlos Tevez Affair, West Ham United will be contacted by the Premier League as part of an investigation into why Robert Snodgrass missed Tuesday night's game against West Bromwich Albion.
Snodgrass joined West Brom from the Hammers a fortnight ago and played in their 3-2 win at Wolves at the weekend.
But it emerged prior to kick-off that West Ham and Albion had agreed that the Scottish midfielder would not face his former side at the London Stadium.
But Premier League rules state that "no club shall enter into a contract which enables any other party to that contract to acquire the ability materially to influence its policies or the performance of its teams in league matches".
It’s understood that both clubs will now be spoken to about the matter, although there is precedent – in 2007 Tim Howard was left out of the Everton side that faced Manchester United after a “gentleman’s agreement” was made between the two sides. After an investigation, both clubs were cleared of any wrongdoing.
Although the circumstances regarding Snodgrass's absence are different to that of Tevez - who was owned by a third party when he signed for West Ham, who subsequently covered up that fact and avoided a points deduction which saw Sheffield United relegated in 2007 - Blades fans have been reminded of the events of 14 years ago when 'third-party ownership' became the talk of English football that summer.
Baggies boss Sam Allardyce told BT Sport before the match: "That was an agreement between the clubs that this game he would not be allowed to play. We could only get the deal done with that agreement."
But after the game he was more guarded, saying: "I'll have to wait and see before I answer anything that might cause me, West Ham or anybody else any trouble, I'll wait to see what the Premier League say."
In the years that have passed since The Tevez Affair, anger has barely faded amongst some connected with Bramall Lane.
Former Blades goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, who only played one more season in the Premier League after being relegated with United that season, has described it as "an injustice". Several of his teammates never played a top-flight game again, and relegation led to Neil Warnock leaving his boyhood club.
After Tevez was found to have been owned by a third party, West Ham were fined rather than docked points. Tevez was allowed to continue playing and scored seven goals in his last 10 games of the season - including the winner on the final day at Manchester United - to condemn United to the Championship. It was 12 years - six of which were spent in League One - before they returned to the Premier League.
"I wonder if the panel thought that West Ham were already down anyway?" said Kenny, of the decision not to dock West Ham points.
"But the whole thing stunk."