Blackburn have been ordered to pay £2.25 million in compensation to former manager Henning Berg by a High Court judge.
Former Rovers defender Berg’s spell in charge at Ewood Park was brought to an end 57 days into a three-year deal last December, following a run of one win in ten matches.
The case argued by Blackburn was that managing director Derek Shaw acted without authority from owners Venky’s in granting Berg a contract that entitled him to full payment of his agreement in the event of an early dismissal. Venky’s preference was a 12-month notice period, but Judge Mark Pelling dismissed the notion that Shaw lacked the authority to finalise the terms of Berg’s deal.
He said: “In my judgment it is unarguable to suggest that the managing director of Blackburn does not have implied or usual authority to sign employment contracts on its behalf.”
Shaw and fellow director Paul Agnew contended that a 31 October meeting with Berg at a Blackburn hotel was merely a “meet and greet”, but the judge concluded that a letter drawn up and signed by Berg and Shaw a day later laid out the terms for the managerial contract.
He said: “The letter of 31 Oct-ober certainly contains a provision to the effect that the contract would be for a fixed period ending on 30 June, 2015.”
Blackburn’s barrister, Neil Berragan QC, asked for permission to appeal the decision but Judge Pilling dismissed the request.
Berg’s time at Blackburn was followed by a similarly brief tenure for Michael Appleton. Caretaker manager Gary Bowyer is now in charge, and Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace all but secured Rovers’ Championship status for next term.