After being handed a transfer ban by FIFA, Chelsea land in yet another trouble and could end up in the High Court amid their ongoing legal battle with Antonio Conte over his severance package. A Premier League managers’ arbitration tribunal has now been appointed to rule on the matter, according to The Times.
There have been months of wrangling between Conte and Chelsea’s respective legal teams, but both parties are yet to reach an agreement on the Italian’s payoff. He was sacked by Chelsea in July, two years into his contract at Stamford Bridge and with a year left to run.
The dispute will now be put to a three-person tribunal, which is the first legal port of call for any ongoing issue around an employment contract. Further disagreement and refusal to accept the ruling would see the judgement challenged in the High Court.
Conte’s lawyers have argued he should be paid for the final year of his deal — which would be worth around £9million — unless he takes another job.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have argued that his behaviour during his last year put him in breach of his contract. There was a serious deterioration of relationships between the 49-year-old and senior figures behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge.
The issues began when Conte sent a text message to Diego Costa to tell the striker he was surplus to requirements. This is likely to be used in Chelsea’s case against Conte.
There have been discussions within Conte’s legal team about claiming for aggravated damages. They believe that by leaving it so late to sack him, Chelsea stopped Conte from finding another top job in the summer.
The 61-word statement which failed to thank Conte that was released when he was sacked speaks for the acrimony between the two sides.
It did mention the fact he had won the Premier League in his first season in charge and picked up the FA Cup in his second, although that latter success came during a season in which Conte led Chelsea to a fifth place finish.
Conte was the ninth manager sacked by owner Roman Abramovich since he took over the club in 2003. He has had to spend more than £70m in compensation in that time. Chelsea declined to comment when contacted by The Times.