Solomona contract dispute heading to trial

Denny Solomona will fly to Argentina with England this summer with a court case hanging over him after an end-of-year trial date was set.

Solomona’s former rugby league club Castleford are suing the Auckland-born winger for damages after he walked out on them during the winter despite having two years left on his contract.

The 23-year-old switched codes, signing a three-year deal with Sale Sharks, and is set to make his England debut after being named in coach Eddie Jones’ touring squad.

Castleford are seeking £500,000 in damages against Solomona, as well as Sale and the player’s agent Andy Clarke, and the matter went to Leeds Mercantile Court on Monday after the parties failed to reach an out-of-court settlement.

A hearing was told that a total of 10 witnesses are due to be called and the case was listed for a seven-day trial in Leeds in the period from November 13 and January 12.

The parties were told to disclose documents and exchange witness statements by mid-July.

Sale were not represented at the hearing other than by barrister Martin Budworth, while Castleford’s legal team of Arnold Ayoo and Richard Cramer accompanied Castleford chief executive Steve Gill.

Castleford took legal advice after Solomona, who scored a Super League record 40 tries in 2016, failed to report for preseason training in November.

Sale subsequently announced Solomona had retired from rugby league before signing him on a three-year contract in December.

In papers lodged at the High Court in December, the Tigers claimed that Sale and Clarke entered into a “cynical calculation” that they would be financially better off if the player breached his contract rather than negotiate a transfer fee and, therefore, were due exemplary damages in addition to £500,000.

The document, brought by leading QC Nick Randall, revealed that on Sep. 8 — a month before the end of the Super League season — Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond offered to pay Castleford £50,000 in compensation “for a quick and quiet deal” after withdrawing an earlier offer of £150,000 which had been rejected.

The Super League club, who turned down an approach for the player from Warrington in August, argued Solomona’s subsequent non-attendance at training, allied with a social media image of him playing table-tennis with Sale players the following day and a picture of a Sharks removal van outside his home, proved a “clear unequivocal repudiatory breach of contract”.

Castleford, therefore, terminated his contract on Nov. 11 and began their lawsuit, claiming that a genuine transfer value for the player would have been £500,000.

Castleford have adequately replaced Solomona, with Greg Eden currently topping the Super League scoring chart with 15 tries in 10 appearances, and hope to use any cash injection to complete the signing of fullback Zak Hardaker, who is on a season-long loan from Leeds.

Solomona played rugby union as a youngster before launching his rugby league career with Melbourne and also played for London Broncos before joining Castleford just over two years ago.

He was included in England’s 31-strong squad after completing the three years’ residency qualification, with coach Eddie Jones citing the player’s X-factor for his call-up after he scored 11 tries in just 15 appearances for Sale since his switch of codes.

Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/19337117/denny-solomona-castleford-contract-dispute-heading-trial
Solomona contract dispute heading to trial
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