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Tony Pulis loses £3.7m Crystal Palace court battle

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Tony Pulis’s conduct over the £2m bonus was found to be “disgraceful”

West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has lost a £3.7m High Court battle with former club Crystal Palace.

A Premier League Managers’ Arbitration Tribunal ruled earlier this year Pulis should pay £3.7m damages to the club in a dispute about the way he left at the start of the 2014-15 season

Palace bosses said Pulis told them he was committed to the club but left two days after getting a £2m bonus.

Pulis, 56, denied deceiving them into paying the bonus.

He challenged the order in the High Court but a judge ruled against him.

Details of the case have emerged in a written ruling published by Sir Michael Burton on Monday.

More updates on this and other stories in Birmingham and the Black Country

Pulis had a contract with the south London club which promised him the bonus if he kept them in the Premier League at the end of the 2013-14 season and stayed in the manager’s job until 31 August 2014.

‘False impression’

He secured Palace’s place in the top flight but did not stay until the required date, instead asking for the bonus earlier than agreed and then informing the club a day later he wanted to leave.

He departed Palace the next day, on 14 August, on the eve of the new season.

Pulis said his reason for asking for the bonus early was due to an imminent purchase of land for his children and he “urgently needed the money” to enable that, the arbitration tribunal heard.

But the panel rejected his evidence, saying he had decided to leave the club as a result of a players’ meeting on 12 August.

“There was in truth no pressing need for the money at all, since at no time was there a plot of land on the market which Mr Pulis was remotely close to purchasing,” it said.

The panel concluded it was satisfied Pulis intended to give the club the “false impression” he had a pressing need for the money for the land purchase and that “he knew or was reckless to the fact that the impression he was giving to the club was a false one”.

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Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish was “misled” by Pulis

“His motive in doing so was to secure early payment of £2m,” the tribunal panel said.

Pulis had 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”.

He also said he was “committed” to the club.

But the panel disputed that, saying he had not told the truth and had “deliberately misled” Palace chairman Steve Parish.

Palace bosses gave Pulis the £2m on 12 August and the day after “he dropped the bombshell on the club” leaving them “in the lurch”.

“By any standards his conduct [prior to and during the litigation] has been shown to be disgraceful,” the panel said.

A spokeswoman for Crystal Palace told BBC News the club would not be making any comment on the ruling.

Pulis, who managed Stoke City from 2006 to 2013, became manager of West Brom in January 2015.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-38136496