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One rule for them ...

Filed: Friday, 27th April 2007
By: Matthew O'Greel

West Ham United's 5.5m fine is the largest ever handed out by the Premier League by some considerable margin.

Last year Chelsea were fined just 300,000 - with the threat of a three point deduction for further indiscretions - for 'tapping up' Arsenal's Ashley Cole at a meeting in January 2005, just a matter of months before they signed him from Arsenal.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was also fined 200,000 for the incident, with Cole receiving a 100,000 slap on the wrists.

Meanwhile Liverpool were fined just 20,000 - a then record fine - for making an illegal approach to German midfielder Christian Ziege in 2000, who was also fined 10,000.

West Ham United's fine has astonished many commentators, with others claiming a 'kop out' by the League for refusing to deduct any points - a situation that would almost certainly have led to West Ham's relegation from the Premeirship.

The club reacted to the news of the fine by issuing a brief statement on their website at whufc.com; it read:

"West Ham United Football Club was given an opportunity to present its case and received a fair hearing. The Club's submission that the contracts gave no actual influence to any third party was accepted by the commission.

"The Club has not been found guilty of fielding an unregistered player and speculation about a likely points deduction has proved to be unfounded.

"The Club regrets the fact that they fell foul of the FA Premier League regulations, but the new owners of the club now want to focus on matters on the pitch and remaining in the Premiership. The threat of a points deduction has now been removed and the Club's fate remains in its own hands.

"The Club believes that promotion and relegation issues should be decided on the pitch and we are pleased that the commission agree with that view.

"The Club will reflect on the financial penalty that has been imposed and will take advice before commenting on the possibility of an appeal or any further steps that might be taken."

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