Team of Choice: Ex-coach Middendorp may have to pay settlement fee to quit Maritzburg

2011-03-14 00:00

MARITZBURG United and their fired coach, Ernst Middendorp, have gone to their lawyers over the settlement fee to be paid out to the coach.

United have appointed Ian Palmer, who guided the team back to the PSL by winning the First Division in 2008, to coach the team until June 2012, provided they survive in the top-flight this season.

The football club terminated Middendorp’s contract, which was to run until mid-2012, on Saturday following a 3-0 defeat to a second-string Moroka Swallows side that eliminated United from the Nedbank Cup in the last-32 stage.

The firing of the German coach follows a mediocre season that sees the under-achieving, 14th-placed team fighting relegation in the Premier Soccer League.

United believe that, with Middendorp having openly asked the team to fire him in his television post-match interview following a 2-2 home draw against Vasco Da Gama on March 5, the club should not have to pay out the settlement fee.

“We terminated Middendorp’s contract and the issue thereafter is with both party’s lawyers,” United chairman Farouk Kadodia said yesterday. “We would not have had to pay out the remainder of the contract as there is a clause determining a settlement figure should either party terminate. If Ernst does have a job lined up for the next season in Joburg, where he has a house and is newly married … he would have had to pay us out the settlement figure.

“That is why we find it so suspicious that he went on national TV to ask us to fire him.”

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