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Zola in the dark over Tevez fallout

PUBLISHED: 13:44 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 05 October 2010

Gianfranco Zola has admitted that his attempts to build a team at Upton Park could be hampered as West Ham face up to a potential £30m bill for the Carlos Tevez affair.

Gianfranco Zola has admitted that his attempts to build a team at Upton Park could be hampered as West Ham face up to a potential £30m bill for the Carlos Tevez affair.

The Hammers were hit by a major blow this week when an independent tribunal ruled in favour of Sheffield United in the long-running legal battle over Tevez, who was instrumental in keeping West Ham in the Premier League two seasons ago.

The shock verdict has left the club facing a massive damages payout, with a hearing now due to decide the exact figure that West Ham must pay the Yorkshire club, who are demanding more than £30m in compensation.

The substantial payout could have a crippling effect on the finances at Upton Park, coming just two weeks after the collapse of shirt sponsor XL, which owed the club £2m for the season.

A miserable 24 hours for West Ham was compounded by the club's shock 1-0 Carling Cup defeat at Watford on Tuesday night.

Zola later revealed that he was in the dark over the impact of the tribunal's verdict on the funds at his disposal and his ability to strengthen the squad in January.

"Let me have these concerns when that happens," he said. "It is something that the club is handling right now, when the decision is taken we will make some considerations.

"We have to carry on working like this until January anway and I'm happy to do that. When the [transfer window re-opens] we will see."

West Ham are currently weighing up their options in light of the tribunal's decision and are exploring the possibility of fighting the verdict in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausane.

"The club need to digest the full findings of the arbitration panel and will consult lawyers before considering our next steps," said a club statement.

Zola refused to blame the turmoil created by the tribunal's decision for West Ham's League Cup exit at Vicarage Road, where Hayden Mullins' own-goal saw the Hammers eliminated in the third round.

He said: "That is something that the club are handling and I don't want to find any excuse. Unfortunately this game came at the worst moment but I already knew it was going to be tough.

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