Swansea City compensation battle with Southampton continues as claims emerge

Sunday, 2 June 2024, 8:34
22
2 mins read

The Swans battle for what they believe they are entitled from Russell Martin’s departure to Southampton continued this week with us claiming that the Saints “tapped up” Martin and secured confidential details of his contract.

Almost twelve months on from the departure of Martin and less than a week after he secured an immediate Premier League return for Southampton through the back door of the play offs, the finalities of his move from SA1 last summer are still yet to be completed.

As reported back in April, the matter of compensation was due to end up in court with neither side seemingly prepared to move on their position as to how much it should secure to close the matter of the move made by Martin and his backroom staff last summer.

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This week some of the details behind that court move were revealed with the Telegraph reporting that the Swans had lodged a request with the Premier League on “tapping up” with the claim being that Southampton had obtained confidential contract details about Martin in an attempt to secure a cut price move for him.

The Telegraph added that England’s top tier was not pursuing the case but the Swans continue to press ahead with suing our former manager as Southampton try and avoid paying the full £2m release clause.    It is claimed that it could have even been Martin directly who passed on the confidential terms in a bid to keep the costs down.

The battle still hinges over the technicality of whether the Saints were a Premier League or Championship club at the time they reached agreement with Martin.

The wording used by the claim is said to read “Mr Martin, and/or his agent acting on his behalf communicated with another football club that made an approach for his services whether directly or indirectly, without receiving permission in writing by the CEO” and that he “revealed to a third party confidential information namely the Release Sums and/or details of the Resigning Employees.”

The claim continues that the former Swans boss “did not act, whether through his own actions and/or those of an agent acting on his behalf, in the best interests of Swansea City”

The official appointment of Martin as Southampton boss came a week after the Premier League AGM which ratified the three promoted sides as Premier League sides and effectively ending Southampton’s tenure in the top division.   However, it was widely reported before the Premier League season ended that Martin and Southampton were likely to be a pairing for the following season.

“By reason of the factual foregoing, it is to be reasonably inferred that…. Without Swansea City’s knowledge or permission, Southampton FC approached Mr. Martin or persons acting on his behalf, such as his intermediary or agent, in order to induce him to leave his employment with Swansea City,” the claim says.

The Swans have never moved on the belief that they were owned full compensation for Martin and said back in last summer that they would “continue working diligently and strategically to protect the best interests of the club.”

Embed from Getty Images

It does appear that the situation of compensation for Martin will continue to rumble on for some time before agreement has been reached and, as referenced before, no party – Swansea, Southampton or Russell Martin himself – will come out of this with all their credit intact given the nature of mud slinging that is going on.   Both in and out of the public eye.

Of course the issue of tapping up in football is not an unusual one and it is probably likely that very few moves happen (both players and management) without details of contracts being known but with the Swans standing firm on that it was Russell Martin himself who engineered the move away from Swansea there seems very little movement will happen until someone relatively ‘neutral’ steps in and reaches the decision that will close the matter off.

 

 

 

 

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.

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swansnews

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Law360, London (May 30, 2024, 7:56 PM BST) -- A Welsh football club has sued its former coach in a London court for over £750,000 ($955,000), alleging he breached his contract when he moved to work for a competing team, according to newly public court filings.

Swansea City Association Football Club Ltd. accuses former head coach Russell Martin of breaking his employment contract when he left to become manager of Southampton Football Club, the club of English port city Southampton, according to its High Court claim dated April 3.

Martin was the head coach of Swansea City, also known as The Swans, from Aug. 1, 2021, until the contract was terminated June 28, 2023, the club says.

Southampton, then playing in the Premier League, the highest level of English football, approached Martin during the 2022-2023 season, and Martin accepted an offer to join the club without the agreement of The Swans' chief executive as required under his contract, Swansea City alleges.

Martin also did not seek permission to communicate with Southampton from The Swans' board despite that being a contractual requirement, Swansea City alleges.

Under the contract, Martin could be released in return for a £1.25 million payment, either from him or the team hiring him within seven days. However, if the team was in the Premier League the required payment would be £2 million, the claim says.

Rasmus Ankersen, chief executive of Southampton's owners Sport Republic UK Ltd., called directors of Swansea City to discuss hiring Martin as a manager under the release terms of his contract. Ankersen declined to offer the higher rate for Premier League teams to release Martin, offering the lower rate for teams not in the Premier League, according to the claim.

Southampton, also known as The Saints, had finished in the lowest place in the Premier League that season, and therefore would be relegated to play in the Championship, the second-highest league in English football, in which Swansea City also competes. Southampton has been promoted to the Premier League after finishing in fourth place in the 2023-2024 season.

However, Swansea City alleges that until Southampton transferred its shares in the company that operates the Premier League on June 14, 2023, it remained a Premier League team, and therefore should have paid £2 million to release Martin from his contract.

Swansea City also alleges Martin may have disclosed the contents of his employment contract to Southampton, breaching its confidentiality.

Southampton paid £1.25 million to Swansea City on June 27, and announced Martin would become its new head coach, terminating the contract the following day, the claim says.

Swansea City also alleges Martin had "enticed" five other senior members of its coaching and talent scouting staff to join Southampton in breach of his contract.

Swansea City and its counsel did not respond Thursday to requests for comment.

Southampton and counsel for Martin did not respond Thursday to requests for comment.

Swansea City is represented by John Mehrzad KC and Samuel Rabinowitz of Fountain Court Chambers, instructed by Nii Anteson of Sheridans.

Martin is represented by Level Law Ltd.

The case is Swansea City Association Football Club Ltd. v. Martin, case number KB-2024-001087, in the King's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales.

Read more at: https://www.law360.com/commercial-l...head-coach-with-750k-contract-claim-?copied=1

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Lee Trundle

1,747 messages 61 likes

Does this mean then that we have given up or failed in pursuing Southampton then? If so, that's a far fvk up from the club in the wording of the clause. Could this now be an attempt to save face?

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Smurph

Alan Waddle

677 messages 244 likes

From what I can gather, Southampton have paid £1.25 million and we're chasing Martin for the 750K to trigger the £2 million which was a clause in his contract.

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Chief

Lee Trundle

1,747 messages 61 likes

Yes, but initially we were going after Southampton. That seems to have gone quiet.

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Smurph

Alan Waddle

677 messages 244 likes

Looks like they've eventually paid up. The whole thing is a mess.

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Lee Trundle

1,747 messages 61 likes

Well they paid up the initial amount last summer, but I thought we were going after them for the full amount we wanted for an approach from a premier league club.

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Smurph

Alan Waddle

677 messages 244 likes

Maybe it's easier to chase Martin from a legal perspective than it is Southampton?

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Pentyrchjack

Alan Waddle

839 messages 21 likes

The reality is each party will end up paying its own costs so the only winners are the lawyers

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bakajack

Alan Curtis

3,731 messages 138 likes

It could well be that we go after both.
Martin for the difference for breach of contract for the reasons above.
Based on the trial it might give Swansea evidence to prove that Southampton also made an approach to Martin before the date mentioned.

In any case its likely to be messy but surely the club wouldn't go for it if they didn't feel they had strong evidence especially after the stadium builder's law suit malarky.

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Pentyrchjack

Alan Waddle

839 messages 21 likes

This is a right shag up. A wiser, more experienced, chief executive would have said to Southampton at the outset: "Look, we all know you poached Russ under the radar (which did us a favour), so rather than get drawn into a public legal battle let's just agree that Swansea City is the first port of call for loaning out your young superstars of the future".

After all we know the success Southampton has in developing young players.

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Phil Sumbler

Been watching the Swans since the very late 1970s and running the Planet Swans website (in all its current and previous guises since the summer of 2001 As it stood JackArmy.net was right at the forefront of some of the activity against Tony Petty back in 2001, breaking many of the stories of the day as fans stood against the actions where the local media failed. Was involved with the Swans Supporters Trust from 2005, for the large part as Chairman before standing down in the summer of 2020.

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