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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 15, 2008

Benitez could take legal action - expert

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks' admission that talks were held with Jurgen Klinsmann was 'not well advised', according to a leading employment lawyer who also believes Rafael Benitez would have a strong claim for wrongful dismissal.

There are suggestions Benitez could pursue legal action against the club after Hicks yesterday confirmed talks were held with the former Germany coach about the manager's job at Anfield.

Benitez would have to resign before taking legal action but Richard Linskell, employment partner with Dawsons, told PA Sport the two parties would be more likely to agree a pay-off rather than go through the courts - and admitted a lack of understanding of British employment law could have been behind Hicks' startling revelations.

He said: 'Certainly I would say it was not well-advised.

'He may well of course have an American approach to employment law, and in America they have what is called employment-at-will and they can say what they like and dismiss people without any repercussions.

'He may be coming from a legal system where he can say that sort of thing without fear of legal consequences. I am not an expert on the American legal system but I am aware of the basics. I couldn't really say whether he has even thought about the issue or whether he has just shot from the hip, as people in that sort of position often do.'

Linskell explained Benitez's position, further, confirming the wrongful dismissal claim would be based on constructive dismissal.

He continued: 'When someone is claiming constructive dismissal, which is what, I understand, it has been suggested Rafa Benitez has been saying, they are basically saying their contract has been breached by the company as a result of the conduct - in Benitez's case the conduct is openly plotting his replacement, effectively, and briefing the press - and I don't know what other allegations he might make.

'What he'll be saying is `well okay, I'll be resigning, and I'll be claiming for the period you would have had to pay me had you not breached my contract'. In his case that would be to the end of the contract which I understand is about two years and I understand the figure being talked about is about £6million.'

Linskell reiterated Benitez could not take action while remaining the club's manager.

He said: 'One of the things about constructive dismissal is you do have to actually resign to enforce your rights. He would have to resign then bring a claim.

'Football clubs usually pay someone up, to the end of their contract.

'Partly because that's just what everyone does and it seems to be the accepted practice (in football) but also it saves the embarrassment and time and legal cost of litigation if a manager were to sue for damages.'

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