The International Court of Arbitration for Sport ("CAS") has announced that David O'Leary has been successful in resisting the appeal of Al Ahli FC against the compensation award made in his favour by FIFA’s Players' Status Committee, following his dismissal by the Dubai-based club.
The former Arsenal and Republic of Ireland captain, and ex-Manager of Leeds United and Aston Villa, was dismissed one year into a three year fixed term. Having dismissed O'Leary, the club claimed that he had abandoned his job and that FIFA lacked jurisdiction to hear the claim. The Club withdrew both arguments for the purposes their appeal to CAS, but still maintained that FIFA’s compensation award was excessive, arguing in particular that mitigation of loss applied, notwithstanding that O’Leary’s contract contained liquidated damages provisions. The Club was able to do so, on the basis that for the purposes of the appeal to CAS, Swiss law (being the domestic law of the organisation whose decision was being appealed against) applied to “fill the gaps” where the legal position was not otherwise clear upon the application of FIFA’s Statutes.
CAS rejected the Club's appeal, and upheld O'Leary's FIFA award. The successful Manager was represented by Paul Gilroy QC.