Karl Oyston wants his job back as chairman of Blackpool FC - and says he was unfairly dismissed

Blackpool Football Club and former chairman Karl Oyston look set to lock horns twice later this year over his suspension in 2018 and a claim for around £45,000..

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 12:46 pm

At a preliminary hearing at the employment tribunal service building in Manchester, Judge David Franey said that two separate hearings will be staged relating to the period from February 2018 to July 2019 when Karl Oyston was suspended from his role as club chairman by then owner Owen Oyston and replaced by Natalie Christopher.

The Oystons' reign at the club ended when the club was put into receivership in February 2019 following a court ruling that Owen Oyston must pay then fellow director Valerie Belokon £25m.

But now the new owners at Bloomfield Road must face the two hearings with the previous chairman, the first, a two day hearing starting on July 6 for a claim of unlawful deductions from Mr Oyston's wages, the second, starting on October 12 for unfair dismissal.

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Karl Oyston

At a previous hearing in November last year, the judge had concerns about the legality of the way Mr Oyston's contract of employment was performed over an arrangement relating to Child Support Agency payments and tax.

However, the day before February's hearing was due to take place, a judgement in a completely separate court of appeal case over such payment arrangements, affected the potential outcome of the legality aspect in the Oyston case and could have subsequently led to an appeal.

Mr Oyston was not present in the latest hearing, but the judge and Blackpool Football Club agreed that the unlawful deductions case could go ahead in July pending Mr Oyston's availability, despite the appeal court ruling on the other case.

They also agreed a detailed timetable of preparing and disclosing all documents relating to both future hearings.

The judge said that the issues in the unfair dismissal claim were more clear, but the hearing was expected to last from October 12 to 20.

He said that Mr Oyston was looking to claim compensation on a range of issues including breach of contract over unpaid bonuses and expenses, pay in lieu of notice and holiday pay, plus redundancy payments.

But he added that Mr Oyston was also currently claiming for return of personal property and removal of company vehicle, and also had asked for reinstatement as club chairman.

Blackpool Football club was represented by counsel James Boyd, supported by HR expert Christine Green wife of former Blackpool star player Tony Green.

The club counsel said they were happy with the judge's decisions and would be contesting both claims when the tribunal reconvened in Manchester at the two dates later in the year.