Vladimir Petkovic released a statement insisting he is “proudly still the Lazio Coach” despite Edy Reja taking over training sessions.
The situation is becoming increasingly complex at the club, as they will play Inter on January 6 without a clear definition of who is their manager.
Petkovic signed to take over the Switzerland job from July, by which point he will be out of contract, but Lazio took legal action claiming he lied about those negotiations and that constituted a breach of contract.
“Petkovic took the news of legal action with surprise and disappointment,” read a statement from his lawyer Paco D’Onofrio.
“Straight after signing the contract on December 23 2013, it was his moral decision – as no actual sporting or civil law requires it – to inform President Claudio Lotito before the news became public. In so doing, he reaffirmed his obvious firm intention of continuing the project with Lazio until the end of the season, as is always the case for players and Coaches who are towards the end of their contracts.
“During this whole affair Petkovic respected every law and rule, as he never intended to cause any problems for the club, the President – who he is grateful for having believed in him – or the players who always showed respect and confidence in their Coach even in these weeks of unsatisfactory results.
“As, at the moment, there has been no dismissal under the existing rules, the Coach feels he is proudly still the Coach of Lazio and will ask for a clear head-to-head discussion with President Lotito to clarify this absurd misunderstanding.
“We do this for the good of the fans, the players and above all the club, who only a few months ago celebrated the Coppa Italia triumph. It was part of a winning project (including just one defeat in the last 20 European games) that can and must go forward to the end of the season, just as it was agreed.
“Petkovic’s thoughts at this moment are to wish the club, the players and the passionate fans a magnificent 2014 – together.”
The ball is now in Lazio’s court, who had been hoping to force a resignation from Petkovic or to fire him for breach of contract.
Meanwhile, Reja has already started training sessions from December 30, but although the club released photographs of him on their official website, there was absolutely no mention of his name as new Coach, nor of Petkovic’s fate.