Vladimir Petkovic will “sue for damages” and fight Lazio’s “profoundly unjust” decision to fire him for breach of contract.
This afternoon the club finally announced Petkovic had been sacked for ‘just cause,’ claiming he breached the trust element of their working relationship by denying he had signed for Switzerland.
He insists this broke no rules, as his contract with Lazio was due to expire in June and his job as Swiss manager won’t start until July 2014.
The Biancocelesti had to sack Petkovic before officially signing new boss Edy Reja so he can sit on the bench against Inter on Monday.
“We received notice of the sacking for just cause. We’ll impound the decision in the opportune legal arenas, because we consider it profoundly unjust,” Petkovic’s lawyer Paco D’Onofrio told Sky Sport Italia.
“The statement released by Lazio is unique, as it doesn’t actually indicate the rule he is supposed to have broken during negotiations with the Swiss Federation. President of the Coaches’ Association Renzo Ulivieri also stated this week that Petkovic did not violate any regulation.
“No rule forbids a Coach from reaching an agreement with others when his contract is due to expire. Besides, Petkovic signed for a national team and not a club rival of Lazio.”
The sacking arrived after attempts to terminate the contract by mutual consent, as it’s reported Lazio offered only €100,000 to end their rapport early compared to the €600,000 wages he’d earn until June 30.
“We tried to find a mutual consent solution so as not to damage the Coach’s image, as we could not accept people claiming he had broken the rules. Any agreement between us had to be based on making that clear.
“The Coach confirmed his thoughts were only for Lazio and its fans so they can finish the season as well as possible. Up until this morning, Petkovic was still the Lazio Coach. We would’ve been happy to end this rapport with a handshake and a relaxed atmosphere, but we could not accept aspersions cast on Petkovic’s behaviour.”
Reja has been leading training sessions since December 30, so Lazio had effectively already moved on from Petkovic without actually firing him.
The matter is not over yet, as D’Onofrio warned the Swiss Coach “will be forced to take legal action to establish the truth and justice, including payment for damages to Petkovic’s image.”
In their bid to avoid paying Petkovic’s remaining €600,000 wages, Lazio could end up shelling out more in a bitter legal fight.