Craig Levein has begun the formal process of suing the Scottish Football Association, chief executive Stewart Regan revealed last night.
The former Scotland manager, who was “relieved” of his responsibilities eight days ago, said last Wednesday that he was unhappy with the process that saw him removed from his position. He added that he was taking legal advice.
The SFA, criticised for the length of time it took to reach a decision, intend to honour the ex-manager’s contract in full. However, it means Levein would be unable to sever his ties with the governing body for another 20 months, over which time he is due to receive £700,000. It is understood that the manager wants a one-off sum to leave the employ of the SFA.
On arrival in Luxembourg, where Scotland this evening play a friendly under interim manager Billy Stark, Regan confirmed that the SFA had now received a letter from Levein’s lawyers. The chief executive said he was “disappointed to end up where we are”. However, he expressed the hope that his close relationship with Levein has not been damaged beyond repair.
“As far as the SFA are concerned Craig is entitled to take whatever action he feels is appropriate,” said Regan. “We haven’t terminated his contract. We agreed to honour the terms.However, he has chosen to go down a legal route.
“Craig feels that he wants to leave and pursue legal action as opposed to being paid on a monthly basis. That is the position we are now in.”
Regan grew close to Levein after being appointed chief executive in July 2010. He said that it was his “hope” that their friendship had not been jeopardised.
“I have got what I believe is a good relationship with Craig,” he said. “As chief executive it is always a tough task when you have to have a conversation with somebody and explain the circumstances regarding the board decision. Business is business and relationships are relationships. I hope in time we can restore that relationship.
“I have a huge amount of time for Craig as a person and as a developer of players.”
Regan disputed claims Levein had been asked to sit in a room and converse with the SFA board by conference call.
“That was absolutely not the case,” said Regan. “Craig had been invited in to meet the board and he chose not to and he asked to join by telephone if we needed to speak to him.”
Meanwhile, Regan confirmed that talks to identify Levein’s replacement have already begun in Luxembourg, with four members of the seven-man SFA board included in the Scotland party.
As well as Regan, SFA president Campbell Ogilvie has travelled with the team, as have vice-presidents Rod Petrie and Alan McRae.
“We will put our thoughts together in terms of the type of manager we are looking for and the process we want to go through and the timescale we want to work to. And then, on our return, we will present that to the rest of the board and hope to kickstart the process,” said Regan.