Friday, March 7, 2008

Jailed player is owed money... the FA agrees

Sestanovich waits for his check

Here's a fun one. Say you run a company and one of your employees runs into a little bit of legal trouble. When the time comes for them to tell you what's happened, the employee downplays it somewhat and the problem goes away, until you find out what the real crime was and immediately give them their pink slip.

However, they're not going to jail just yet, and the regulating body of your industry forces you to pay the employee you for the time after he was fired and before he goes to prison.

It doesn't sound right, but it is, according to the FA, and the unlucky club forced to cash out a criminal? Non-league Grays Athletic FC.

The club doesn't want to comply, and the FA is on the verge of suspending them for their principles.

Ashley Sestanovich, a body double for Thierry Henry in some Nike commercials a few years ago, was a promising midfielder for Conference side Scarborough. He won an FA Cup Player of the Round award in 2003 for his goal to knock out Port Vale, and had bounced around through several clubs [Sheffield United, Manchester City, Grimsby Town] before settling at Grays Athletic in 2005.

He didn't get a chance to do much there, participating in just three training sessions and 20 minutes in a pre-season friendly, as he was caught up in the planning of a robbery during which a man was killed.

From the BBC:

Sestanovich, 26, was convicted of conspiracy to rob a roofing firm in Streatham, south London.

The raid led to the death of Thomas Fahey, 42, who was shot in the chest at close range while visiting his brother at the office in June 2005.

Now Sestanovich was jailed for eight years due to his part in the robbery while the two other men involved were sentenced to life in jail, but because he was still technically a part of the club when his initial arrest occurred, the FA wants the club to pay out $28,000 in back pay and wages.

Understandably, the club is pissed that they're being forced to pay out. Said Grays chairman Mike Woodward:

"I am bitterly disappointed in the FA's judgment, all they seem to want to do is take money from football clubs.

We are being forced to pay approximately £14,000 to a player who only had three training sessions and 20 minutes in a pre-season friendly due to his involvement in a heinous crime which saw a young father shot in cold-blood.

Unfortunately my principles will not allow me to pay this money from either my own pocket, or from the club's, and the directors are of the same opinion. I feel sorry for the supporters of this club but I hope that you will back me on this decision."

You can hardly blame him considering the club is way down on the financial totem pole, and that they're shit out of luck after the FA's ruling. The chairman has put a plea out on the club website for donations or assistance from former players who have gone on to bigger things in order to get this squared away, and for all our sakes, let's hope they do.

If they don't come up with the bread in two weeks, the FA's going to suspend them indefinitely from all football until the money's paid out.

It's absolute bullshit, but that's the FA for you. It won't reduce Sestanovich's sentence at all, but when he gets out, he'll have a check from Grays Athletic waiting for him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article, I make the club right and the FA are a abunch of old farts, maybe the club should be made to pay the £14,000 to the victims family. If your watching a game why not stay in one of the many Grays Athletic hotels.