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Feb 15, 2013

Ex-Lyon coach's €7m claim 'indecent'

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has described an attempt by the club's former coach Claude Puel to seek almost €7 million in unpaid salary and damages as "indecent".

Lawyers for the club and Puel faced each other at an industrial tribunal in the French city shortly before Lyon played Spurs in the Europa League at White Hart Lane on Thursday.

Puel, 51, was sacked in summer 2011 after three trophyless seasons. He had originally claimed €3.3 million for the 12 months remaining on the four-year contract he signed in 2008, as well as €1.65 million in damages.

That sum, however, was increased to almost €7 million at the hearing by Puel's legal representative, Guy Reiss. He justified the claim by saying Puel's "image, his family and his personality were brought into question", Lyon paper Le Progres reported.

"I think it's indecent to demand millions from your employer when everyone knows that I defended him for three years come hell or high water," Aulas - whose club claims Puel's dismissal was the result of "gross misconduct" - was quoted as saying in L'Equipe on Friday.

"The high water was the players, the fans and the journalists. Demanding money is indecent, and I put Claude Puel in the same basket as certain players who are grabbing the headlines right now."

Although Puel, now the coach of Nice, was not present, Aulas, 63, attended before flying to London.

He heard his counsel, Joseph Aguera, claim of Puel: "He earned €4 million a year, He was authoritarian, autocratic, individualist, full of pride. Never before had someone so unanimously had people against him."

Both sides can appeal against the decision after it has been made. Puel's case had been dismissed both in the first instance and on appeal after a preliminary quickfire hearing in late 2011.

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