Keevin Keegan awarded £2m in damages

Former Newcastle United manager Keevin Keegan has won his case for constructive dismissal damages against the Championship club. An arbitration panel consisting of Philip Havers QC – who acted as chairman , Lord Pannick QC and Manchester United’s assistant secretary, Kenneth Merrett, ordered Newcastle to pay Keegan £2m ( $3.17m)

Keegan had initially sued the club for £25m ( £8.5m for the remainder of his contract and £16.5m for stigma damages). Newcastle have to pay Keegan the sum within seven days.

Newcastle signed Ignacio Gonzalez, a player Keegan said no one had seen play, as an alleged “favour” to two South American agents. Keegan said the decision was forced upon him, and he was only asked to view a couple of Youtube videos on the player. He argued that signing the player represented a fundamental breach in his contract of employment. Keegan resigned from the club four days

“Mr Wise telephoned Mr Keegan and told him that he had a great player for the club to sign, namely Ignacio González, and that he should look him up. Mr Keegan tried to locate him on the internet but could find no reference to him. Mr Wise told him that he had been on loan at Monaco but having checked out the details, Mr Keegan was unimpressed and told Mr Wise that he did not think the player was good enough.

“Mr Wise then told him that the player was on YouTube and that Mr Keegan could look him up there but he found that the clips were of poor quality and provided no proper basis for signing a player to a Premier League club. Moreover, no one at the club had ever seen him play.

“However, notwithstanding that he made it clear not only to Mr Wise but also to Mr Jimenez and to Mr Ashley that he very strongly objected to the signing of Mr González [he was to be signed on loan with an option to purchase], the club proceeded with the deal and the transfer was concluded the following day, on 31 August 2008.

“The club did so, according to its witnesses who gave evidence before us, because it was in the club’s commercial interests to do so. It was what the club described as a ‘commercial deal’ by which the club meant a deal which was in the commercial interests of the club.

“The ‘commercial interests’, according to the club, were that the signing of the player on loan would be a ‘favour’ to two influential South American agents who would look favourably on the club in the future.

“The loan deal cost the club nearly £1m in wages for a player who was not expected to play for the first team but no payment was made by the club to the agents in respect of the deal.”

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