O’Leary wins case against former club
Al Ahli told to pay former Arsenal star €4 million after sacking him then claiming he had walked out
Former Republic of Ireland international David O’Leary won nearly €4 million from his unfair dismissal case against Dubai club Al Ahli. Photograph: Inpho
Former Republic of Ireland international Dave O’Leary has won his long-running unfair dismissals action against Dubai club Al Ahli with a Fifa panel awarding him just short of €4 million, the balance of the money he was due under the terms of his three-year deal.
O’Leary was only with the club for eight months during which the first team played 15 league games, just six of which were won. In April 2011 the club dismissed him and the former Leeds and Aston Villa boss sought compensation.
The club subsequently disputed the circumstances of his departure and claimed in its submission to Fifa’s Players’ Status Committee that he had actually abandoned his post. This was dismissed at the hearing and O’Leary was awarded the full amount of his claim.
“It has taken a long time to deal with this matter but I am pleased that all issues have now been finalised,” said O’Leary in a statement issued through the English League Managers Association yesterday . “I hope my case provides reassurance to all managers and coaches working all over the world that there is a formal system in place that provides employment protection.”
The association helped to fight the case for O’Leary who is advised by the solicitor Michael Kennedy.
Although the award represents a significant success for O’Leary, who turned 55 on Thursday, he is still looking for a coaching job more than two years after returning to England from Dubai, and seven years on from his last post in British football, with Villa.
The former defender continues to work in the media and is, partly as a result, often linked with vacancies as he was again recently when he confirmed that he would have welcomed a return to Elland Road but there has rarely been any suggestion that he has been really in the running for anything remotely high profile.