David O'Leary wins £3.3m compensation claim from Dubai-based Al Ahli

The former Leeds United and Aston Villa manager was dismissed by the Dubai-based club but was awarded his due after a hearing held by Fifa's Player Status Committee
David O'Leary has been successful in his £3.3 million compensation claim against his former employers Al Ahli, Fifa has announced.

The former Leeds United and Aston Villa manager had been dismissed by the Dubai-based club one year into his three-year deal. However, Al Ahli subsequently claimed that O'Leary had abandoned his post, despite earlier reports from officials that the 55-year-old had been dismissed.

In the course of the hearing, representatives for Al Ahli also argued that the world governing body lacked the jurisdiction to hear the claim.

Fifa's Player Status Committee rejected the defence and ruled in favour of the former Republic of Ireland international, who was backed by the League Managers Association (LMA), and represented by Paul Gilroy QC and Michael Kennedy.

Speaking in the aftermath of the hearing, O'Leary said that he was "pleased" with the outcome and suggested that his case would "provide reassurance" to managers working across the world.

"It has taken a long time to deal with this matter but I am pleased that all issues have now been finalised," he said.

"I would also like to thank Richard Bevan and the LMA as well as my outstanding legal team, led by Paul Gilroy QC, and Michael Kennedy from Herbert Reeves & Co, for their support and hard work in bringing my case to this very satisfactory conclusion.

"I hope my case provides reassurance to all managers and coaches working all over the world that there is a formal system in place that provides employment protection."

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the LMA revealed that the association was "delighted" with the outcome and said that it was "extremely encouraging" to know that Fifa "can provide a means of redress for managers" in protection of their employment rights.

"We are clearly delighted with the outcome," said Bevan after the case. "In addition, the LMA is extremely grateful to the FA for their assistance in initiating the process with FIFA.

"The added significance and wider impact of this process is the proof that FIFA has mechanisms in place which regulate worldwide employment issues.

"It is extremely encouraging to know that the world governing body can provide a means of redress for managers and coaches at all levels seeking to establish their employment rights, wherever in the world they happen to work."