Crystal Palace football club may have “shot itself in the foot” by not agreeing written terms on the issue of future employment with former manager Iain Dowie, according to law firm Addleshaw Goddard.
Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan has issued a writ against Dowie, accusing him of “fraudulently” obtaining a release from a £1m compensation clause which appears to have been in his contract.
Dowie was appointed as manager at Charlton Athletic on 30 May – only eight days after leaving Crystal Place claiming he wanted to move back to the North West to be closer to his family.
Jordan claims he received reassurances that Dowie wanted to leave the club purely for personal reasons. Jordan is now accusing Dowie of lying to him in order to be released from his contract so he could take up a post with rival south London club Charlton.
Andrew Chamberlain, head of employment at Addleshaw Goddard, said: “Some press reports on this matter suggest that a compromise agreement was reached with Dowie when he left Crystal Palace. Given that Palace were waiving the right to £1m compensation if Dowie joined another club, that would have been prudent.
“However, if this was the case, we would have expected a clause preventing Dowie from working for another club – and particularly one in London – for a certain time period.
“The fact that Jordan is accusing Dowie of fraudulently misrepresenting his intention rather than suing for breach of contact, suggests that if there was a compromise agreement, it didn’t contain such a clause.
Dowie insists that prior to leaving Crystal Palace no discussions had taken place with Charlton.
“It appears that Crystal Palace may have shot itself in the foot by not agreeing terms with Dowie on the issue of future employment at the point when he was released from the contract, to cater for the eventuality that he might receive job offers,” Chamberlain said.