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28th Nov 2016

Tony Pulis ordered to pay Crystal Palace nearly £4m after losing tribunal appeal

The Welsh manager was found to have 'deceived' a tribunal.


West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has been ordered to pay former club Crystal Palace £3.77m after it was found that he ‘deceived’ an arbitration tribunal over the details of his Selhurst Park exit.

Pulis was due to receive a survival bonus – awarded for keeping the club in the Premier League in the 2013/14 season – on August 31, 2014. However, he was paid the sum ahead of time, reportedly on the premise that he would still be at the club at the end of the month, only to leave Palace by mutual consent on August 14 of that year.

The Welshman had appealed against a tribunal ruling that he had acted deceptively, both with regard to his plans to stay at the club beyond August 31 and with regard to a player meeting which precipitated his exit.

Pulis is said to have argued that the meeting in question – described in a written ruling from judge Sir Michael Burton as the ‘Heated Players’ Meeting’ – took place on August 12 (the day he was handed early payment of the bonus), but a Premier League mediation panel found that it actually took place four days earlier.

Crystal Palace v Liverpool - Premier League

‘The Panel’s firm conclusion is that the Heated Players’ Meeting occurred on 8 August. Mr Pulis has remained adamant throughout the proceedings that it occurred on 12 August in the face of the objective evidence which suggests otherwise,’ the filings read.

‘Since the Panel has concluded that the Heated Players’ Meeting occurred on 8 August, Mr Pulis’ explanation for his sudden desire to leave the Club cannot be true. There must therefore be another reason.

‘The only thing that had changed was that he had received early payment of his bonus on 12 August. The Club submits that early payment of the bonus and his decision to leave the Club are inextricably linked. In the absence of any other explanation from Mr Pulis, this is plainly the most logical inference. Indeed, it is the only inference.

Pulis is said to have requested the early payment in order to buy land for his children, for which the tribunal concludes:

‘It is not satisfied that he was candid with the Tribunal as to his real reason for seeking to leave.

‘It is much more likely that he intended to seek more lucrative employment with another Club and that is the real reason he sought early payment of his bonus, rather than an urgent need for the money for a non-existent land transaction.’

‘It is clear beyond doubt that the statement that Mr Pulis needed to show £2 million in his account preferably by 13 August to proceed on the purchase of property was completely untrue.’

Pulis has been ordered to pay £3.77m, made up of £1.5m in ‘liquidated damages’ and £2.276m in ‘damages for deceit plus the interest and costs awarded’.

After leaving Palace, Pulis took over as manager of West Brom in January 2015.

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