The legal battle(s) between Chelsea and former manager Antonio Conte are starting to heat up, if the latest detailed report from La Gazzetta dello Sport is to be believed.
According to the pink pages, Conte is seeking not only the severance payments that are due to him as per the terms of his contract — total around €13m apparently, which is more than previously reported — but also damages to his “image” and reputation as well as loss of opportunity to the tune of €5-10m. The report is a bit confusing on this point, but the additional damages appear to be a separate case from the compensation stand-off itself.
The facts of the two cases remain basically the same as reported in the summer.
- Claims Chelsea purposefully and spitefully delayed his sacking, causing him to lose opportunities in the job market. Claims that Chelsea already knew in May, at the latest, that they will sack him.
- Severance payments were agreed in the contract and the club has no right to withhold them (for both he and his staff minutes those who stayed).
- Claim sacking was with “just cause”, blaming Conte not only for the whole Costa thing, again/still, but also accusing him of unprofessional behavior, like missing (or showing up late for) sponsor engagements, arriving late to press conferences, and, silliest of all, for not parking his car in the assigned spot in the parking lot at Cobham.
Those arguments, if nothing else, should illustrate just how personal and ugly this whole situation has gotten.
While legal disputes following sackings are not uncommon, the level of vitriol in this case is. Conte has apparently refused at least two approaches for a settlement from Chelsea’s side, intending to see his case through, one would imagine the eventual outcome will be decided away from the prying eyes of the general public.