April 19, 2024

Jim White suggested it “can’t be right” for West Ham’s former finance director to have been on the independent commission which punished Everton with a 10-point deduction.

The talkSPORT host spoke live on the station on 21 November to put the situation to Simon Jordan, suggesting Toffees supporters can’t help but be sceptical that Nick Igoe was one of the names on the three-man panel, having been in charge of the Hammers’ finances at the time of the Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano affair.

The two Argentina internationals signed for West Ham in 2006, with the striker helping keep them up at the expense of Sheffield United despite the deals involving third-party ownership, with the Irons fined and the Blades later suing as a result [Sky Sports], and Jordan admitted he found the discovery “perplexing”.

Jim White said (5m 15s): “There have been suggestions that one member of the panel who arrived at the 10-point deduction was the former West Ham finance director, who was in situ during the Tevez-Mascherano fiasco.

“I mean, when you hear stuff like that is it no wonder that Evertonians are sceptical?”

Jordan replied: “You know my view, I think the punishment was harsh, and it certainly gives you the opportunity to pull at a ball of wool if indeed that was case.

“If indeed that was the case that somebody was the finance director of another Premier League football club, whilst it gives you expertise, I would find that perplexing that that would be the case.”

“That can’t be right,” added White.

“I’d like to know if that were the case before I make an observation on it,” said Jordan.

Incredible

Igoe was indeed on the three-man commission panel, just as David Phillips KC was [The Athletic, 17 November], with the latter having also previously represented Leeds United in 2007.

In theory the fact that Igoe is no longer at West Ham and Phillips is not currently representing the Whites should mean their professional integrity is more than enough to prevent a conflict of interest.

But it is hardly going to inspire confidence in a panel, which the Premier League have been at great pains to point out is independent, when two thirds of it’s make up have strong links to rival clubs, including one that reportedly wants as much as £100million from the Toffees.

everton

Perhaps their judgement was completely neutral but it certainly doesn’t help create the impression that the entire process is beyond reproach, which is clearly needed when the commission have come up with a bespoke punishment with no top-flight precedent.

As is so often the case, frequently when it comes to refereeing decisions that appear to defy explanation, Everton supporters are forced into a position where they can be accused of clutching at straws on conspiracy theories.

But while there may be an element of that in every fanbase across world football it is no stretch for these developments to make fans uncomfortable, and it is at best a very poor look for a supposedly independent commission tasked with what was almost guaranteed to be a contentious decision.

Igoe and Phillips may well be completely above reproach but the appearance of a conflict of interest is as damaging as an actual one so it does nothing to enhance this entire process for the situation to be the way it is.

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