Hammers receiving 6k a week from DFB
David Sullivan has accused the Football Association of “not honouring their commitments” in relation to Dean Ashton’s career-ending injury and warned the governing body that West Ham United may be forced to sue for up to £6.8m if they fail to receive compensation for the broken ankle the striker suffered while on England duty in 2006.
The FA recently settled a private compensation claim with Ashton, who retired in December 2009 after he failed to fully recover from the injury sustained during an England training session, but West Ham have never received a penny since the striker was forced to quit. Sullivan, the club’s co-owner, talking for the first time about the case, described the situation as an “appalling mess” and said, that although anxious to resolve the dispute without litigation, West Ham will have no option but to serve a writ if the FA’s stance remains the same.
“You would think the FA would be honourable and say we accept that he retired as a result of the injury he got training with England,” Sullivan told the Guardian. “He battled on and played games subsequentlybut was never the same and, ultimately, the ankle broke down. It’s poor of the FA not to honour their commitments.
“Their insurance company are trying to argue that because he played 30 games after the injury, even though he retired as a result of the injury, they’re not liable. But it’s not like he retired because of anything else other than the ankle, which was smashed to bits because of [Shaun] Wright-Phillips. It was an accident and these things happen, but the FA should pick up the bill.
Ashton was injured in a challenge with Wright-Phillips the day before he was set to make his England debut against Greece, in August 2006. He returned to the West Ham side a year later and went on to win a full England cap in June 2008. But the ankle injury continued to trouble Ashton, and almost 15 months after his last appearance for West Ham, he was forced to retire at the age of 26.
It is understood that the FA’s insurance was capped at £8m and that West Ham received around £1.2m of that sum to cover Ashton’s wages throughout the 2006-07 season, when he did not kick a ball. Sullivan, however, believes that the remaining £6.8m should be paid to West Ham to go towards compensating the club for losing the services of a player who should have been approaching his peak and would have commanded a significant transfer fee.
“We will have to issue a writ shortly, but it’s the last thing I want to do because I don’t believe people in football should be suing each other,” added Sullivan. “But for West Ham to get nothing is appalling. Years after the injury and several years after the retirement, they have never offered us a penny. That can’t be right.”
The FA, in keeping with the statement they issued earlier this month in relation to the out-of-court settlement they reached with Ashton, has refused to comment further on the matter. It has, however, pointed out that the compensation they pay clubs in wages for players injured on international duty is way above that paid by most other national associations.
Sullivan would not dispute that that is the case. West Ham have received only €7,000 (£6,000) a week from the German football federation towards Thomas Hitzlsperger’s wages after the midfielder picked up a thigh injury in an international friendly against Denmark in August that sidelined him for six months.