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West Brom boss Pulis loses £3.7m Palace court battle

London (AFP) – West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has lost a £3.7 million ($4.6 million, 4.3 million euros) legal action against former club Crystal Palace, a High Court judgement revealed Monday.

Earlier this year, Pulis had been ordered to pay Palace £3.7 million by a Premier League Managers’ Arbitration Tribunal which found he had “deliberately misled” the south London club and described his conduct as “disgraceful”.

Pulis challenged that decision in the High Court but judge Michael Burton found against him at a hearing in London, with a written ruling published Monday. 

Burton said Pulis had a contract which would see him get a £2 million bonus if he kept Palace in the Premier League in 2013-14 and stayed in the manager’s job until August 31, 2014.

Pulis oversaw the Eagles’ successful bid to avoid relegation but did not stay with Palace until August 31.

Palace officials said Pulis had deceived them into an early payment of the bonus by saying he was “committed” to the club and “urgently needed the money early” so he could buy a plot of land for his daughter.

Burton said Palace had agreed to Pulis’s request for early payment and handed over £2 million on August 12 2014, only to be told a day later by the manager that he wanted to leave. Pulis quit Palace on August 14.

Pulis, who denied “fraud”, said he only wanted to leave if it was “mutually agreeable for him to leave on the eve of the new season”, and that it had been “mutually agreeable”.

Arbitrators, however, had concluded that Pulis made “false representations”.

They decided he had not been “committed to the club”, had not intended to stay until August 31 and “there was no such land transaction”.

They also found he had not told the truth and “deliberately misled” Palace chairman Steve Parish “concerning his intentions”.

“Mr Pulis secured early payment of his bonus from the club by deceit in August 2014,” arbitrators said.

“The day after he had secured payment of £2 million … he dropped the bombshell on the club that he intended to leave, leaving it, as must have been his intention, in the lurch on the eve of the new season.”

Arbitrators added: “By any standards his conduct (prior to and during the litigation) has been shown to be disgraceful.”

Burton said he would dismiss Pulis’s challenge and instead enforce the damages awarded by the arbitrators, a panel made up of three senior lawyers.

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