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By ESPN Staff

Everton speak-out over Stubbs's cancer claims

LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Everton have denied claims from former defender Alan Stubbs that he left the club because of a contractual dispute relating to testicular cancer.

Stubbs, now with Premier League rivals Sunderland, had been quoted as saying Everton would only offer him a one-year deal providing he agreed to a clause connected with the illness that has struck him twice in the past.

'I haven't said anything before now but the reason I didn't sign again with Everton is because they wanted a clause in my contract about my cancer,' Stubbs said on the BBC's website on Monday.

'It wasn't about money. I am not going to stand here slating everyone, criticising people, but that was the be-all and end-all of the reason.

'I don't see that as showing loyalty.'

The 33-year-old former Bolton Wanderers and Celtic player played a major role in Everton's fourth-place finish last season and chalked up 142 appearances for the Merseyside club.

Everton dispute Stubbs's reasons for leaving, saying it was because they would only offer him a 12-month extension instead of the two years he wanted.

In a statement on their website, Everton said that while his original contract, signed in 2001, did contain a clause referring to his testicular cancer, they were happy to leave it out of the new one providing he was given the all-clear by an independent specialist.

Stubbs has been in remission for four years after overcoming the illness.

'We feel that it is essential to put the record straight,' said Everton's head of communications Ian Ross.

'Although (the new contract) did still contain what is known as a 'Special Notice Condition' relating to his previous medical condition, Alan asked that, as he had been in remission for a number of years, it be removed.

'The club informed Alan we were perfectly happy to do that once he had been examined by a doctor of consultant status.

'Although Alan indicated his willingness to undergo just such an examination he subsequently informed the club that he was seeking not a 12-month extension to his contract but a 24-month extension.

'Alan eventually decided to reject the offer of a 12-month contract extension and, having become a free agent, he joined Sunderland.'

However, a statement issued later by Stubbs's representatives said he was 'extremely hurt' by the club's attitude.

'Alan felt he deserved the offer of a two-year deal,' said the statement. 'Alan had served the club as a player and then as captain for four years and made 142 appearances.

'During that time his illness did not cause him to miss a single training session.'