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Lille face hefty bill for Bielsa

Lille (France) (AFP) – The acrimonious divorce between mercurial Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa and French club Lille has been finalised, but his departure is likely to cost the club millions.

Bielsa joined Lille in the summer, prompting a 60-million-euro ($71 million) outlay on new players, but he was suspended in November after just three wins in 13 matches.

Following weeks of haggling with the Ligue 1 side, Bielsa’s lawyer claimed Saturday the coach had actually signed two contracts — the first of which  was not declared to the league authorities and contained several extra clauses, including a hefty “parachute payment”.

As a result, Lille might be forced to pay Bielsa 15 million euros ($17.6 million) in compensation, according to L’Equipe, the French sports daily.

Bielsa has repeatedly walked out on clubs, most notably Lazio where he left just 48 hours after the Italian Serie A side failed to sign any of his transfer targets.

He achieved hero status at another French club, Marseille, in 2014 and 2015, before also departing suddenly.

“Two contracts were definitely signed. The first one, signed at the start of the year, is the one that counts because the financial conditions in it are better,” Bielsa’s lawyer Carlo Alberto Brusa told AFP.

“I can confirm that a parachute clause exists which stipulates that in the event that the contract is broken off, for whatever reason, the entire amount of the unpaid salary must be paid to Mr Bielsa.”

Lille have made little progress since Bielsa left and are still in the relegation zone.

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