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Dan Ashworth

Manchester United and Dan Ashworth could face legal action

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Dan Ashworth finds himself embroiled in a complex web of legal and ethical issues that threaten to tarnish his reputation, deplete his bank balance, and jeopardise his career.

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The controversy centers on his interactions with Omar Berrada, an executive making a controversial switch from Manchester City to their arch-rivals, Manchester United.

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In early February, while Ashworth was still actively employed, he engaged in a conversation with Berrada, who was on gardening leave from Manchester City. Berrada’s covert work for Manchester United, using an INEOS email address to contact Ashworth, raises serious contractual and ethical questions.

The fact that this communication was blind copied to Ashworth’s Newcastle United email further complicates matters.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe celebrates winning the FA Cup.

Manchester United could face tapping-up charges while Dan Ashworth could be in breach of gardening leave laws

Berrada’s actions are a clear breach of his contract with Manchester City, exposing him to potential legal action. More critically, Manchester United could face tapping-up charges by the Premier League, a serious allegation that could result in significant sanctions. Tapping-up, the act of making an illegal approach to a player or staff member under contract with another club, has previously led to severe punishments, including transfer bans.

Historically, tapping-up incidents in the Premier League have led to transfer bans. Should Manchester United be found guilty, they could face similar repercussions. The severity of any ban would be determined by the League’s independent judgment panel, whose decisions are often unpredictable and influenced by the specifics of each case.

A more immediate concern for Ashworth is his potential breach of gardening leave. Gardening leave is a common practice in the UK, particularly for high-level executives. It stipulates that during a specified period, an employee cannot work for or establish a business that competes with their former employer.

Ashworth’s actions, if proven, represent a clear violation. Although not a criminal offense, such breaches are serious civil matters and could lead to substantial legal and financial consequences. The fact that Ashworth was placed on gardening leave so swiftly suggests that Newcastle United did not consent to his activities, indicating a failure to act in good faith.

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