Reports claim that the Premier League is investigating a breach in the Robert Snodgrass transfer agreement between West Ham and West Brom, and there’s a distinctly American flavor to the rule in question.
Sam Allardyce’s Baggies acquired the 33-year-old Snodgrass from West Ham on Jan. 8 and the Scottish international made his West Brom debut Saturday versus Wolves.
Despite the move being a permanent move and not a loan, West Brom’s social media team Tweeted that Snodgrass was not available to the Baggies on Tuesday due to an agreement between the two clubs.
[ MORE: West Ham 2-1 West Brom ]
And that may be a big no-no.
The PL is reportedly looking into the matter, and The Athletic says that any such “Okay, but he can’t play against us” permanent transfers have been outlawed since Tim Howard moved from Everton to Manchester United.
“Howard initially joined Everton on loan in the summer of 2006. When the two clubs negotiated a permanent transfer in February 2007, the deal contained a “gentlemen’s agreement” that he would not play against United later in the campaign. His understudy Iain Turner was in goal for Everton in that game, which United won 4-2, taking a significant step towards the Premier League title.
“The Premier League felt the integrity of the competition could be compromised if a club was allowed to dictate the availability of another club’s player after selling him.”
Loan players, of course, are not allowed to face their host clubs in the Premier League but this is a different animal.
It seems unlikely that either side would face a big punishment — perhaps a fine is in order — but it certainly made for a bizarre subplot. Snodgrass could have possibly been the difference in a relatively tight contest.
All that said, we’re sure there have been examples where clubs waited to execute a transfer until after they played. And there probably have been wink-wink examples just like Tuesday’s incident, it’s just that Allardyce couldn’t help himself but say it out loud.