Saturday July 9 2016
Lazio: 'Bielsa unjustifiable'

Lazio pledged to take legal action against Marcelo Bielsa and noted “not one word in the contract is related to transfers or signings.”

The Coach announced he would not be taking the job just two days after the club deposited his signed contract with the Lega Serie A.

He claimed Lazio broke promises by failing to sign any reinforcements before pre-season training and therefore the contract was void.

Simone Inzaghi has been appointed instead, having already taken charge of the side in April when Stefano Pioli was sacked.

Lawyer Gianmichele Gentile started the conference by giving the legal outlines of the contract.

“This rapport started towards the middle of June and had a series of verbal negotiations before reaching a contract proposal that the Coach sent to Lazio and the club replied with its own proposal.

“Then director Armando Calveri went to Argentina to finalise negotiations, bringing back the contract dated July 1, which was deposited with the Lega.

“It is a bulky contract at 13 pages and has certain privacy clauses. Coach Bielsa had already sent in his first proposal a sort of Decalogue of requests that were analytically listed, many of them unnecessarily, as these are the usual rules of contracts.

“He had it written in that he’d have sole control over tactics to be used in every game, timing of training sessions and locker room discussions. We followed all of these, including the choice of his technical staff, who were indeed hired.”

Gentile read out a very long list of fairly basic contractual clauses confirming his determination to be in control of all decisions, or at least informed of them well in advance.

“I have to say that the club took on these obligations on July 1, the date of the contractual signature. The negotiations lasted 15-20 days.

“The correspondence breaking this contract was sent on July 7. How could these terms have been broken in the space of seven days when this person never even set foot in Italy during that time.

“After exchanging messages with Bielsa’s lawyer, his response was that the Coach would be here at Formello today and would be leaving with the team for the training camp this weekend.

“There are no clauses tied to the transfer market. Not one word is related to transfers or signings. There are no deadlines, no mentions of buys, nothing of the kind.

“I give my personal opinion, which is that he tried to create an excuse to break the contract. Presumably something happened to make him change his mind between July 1 and 7, because there is no objective event that justifies what Bielsa did.

“The contract was deposited because Bielsa was waiting for the work visa and he could not have entered the country without a contract being deposited. If we had not done that, he would’ve remained in Argentina and said it was our fault he couldn’t come to Italy.

“The evening of July 7 we learned of Bielsa’s decision. We sent a letter welcoming him to Lazio and saying we were waiting for him. The next morning, this message arrived.

“We assumed the delay was because he had to close up his home in Argentina and pack for such a big move. Every day the departure was postponed. On the night of July 7 we asked when he was coming.

“The contract is under Italian jurisdiction, so Lazio will be protected as if Bielsa was an Italian Coach. We can go to various different tribunals and will evaluate with the President what is to be done.

“We can be certain that Lazio will not stand by and suffer this violence, this unjustified breaking of a contract.”

What will Lazio do if Bielsa is, as expected, appointed as the next Coach of Argentina?

“Just as Bielsa violated this contract, he could easily violate anything else. We cannot make any predictions. If the Argentine Federation does not recognise this contract, then we’ll see if we need to get FIFA involved.

“What we want right now is damages for the unjustified breaking of the contract, damages done to the club’s image and value. We have not specified a sum, but there is an important demand for damages.

“He failed to fulfil his contractual obligations. This is a work contract, so it is as if we had hired someone who then didn't turn up to work without a justifiable reason and is therefore sacked. He essentially sacked himself. Not turning up damages the employer and forces them into numerous changes, so he is therefore at fault and owes damages."

It has been reported the request for damages will be around €50m.

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