Cardiff City have settled their legal row with former owner Sam Hammam in what has to be seen as a significant boost for Wales’ capital city club.
Hammam and Bluebirds owner Vincent Tan have agreed an out of court settlement which means the two colourful businessmen avoid going into the witness box to throw criticism at one another, a move which would have seen Cardiff’s name dragged through the mud.
A brief statement issued today confirmed two parties have struck agreement They are each said to be happy with the outcome.
Despite the litigation action he launched, Hammam still retains a strong love for the club he owned between 2000-2006. He kick-started the Bluebirds’ success story this century as they rose from the doldrums of League Two.
Hammam was suing for £15m in a row over the terms of the Cardiff Presidency he was given by Tan nine years ago as a goodwill gesture whilst ending the historic and controversial £24million Langston loan notes debt.
Under the agreement just announced, Hammam will lose the Presidency and any involvement with the Bluebirds.
The exact terms of the out of court figure are undisclosed, although our understanding is that the figure is towards the lower end of the scale.
A statement issued on Monday afternoon read: “Cardiff City Football Club and Sam Hammam have settled their dispute on confidential terms bringing an end to the Court proceedings between them. Mr Hammam has now officially stepped down as the club’s Life President.”
The somewhat surprise, but most welcome development comes after painstaking work carried out behind the scenes by City chairman Mehmet Dalman and the club’s solicitor Chris Nott, of Cardiff-based firm Capital Law.
They are also working on two other legal matters, one involving Nantes over the Emiliano Sala transfer which has been heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, and the other centred around a share issue dispute with ex-director Michael Isaac.
That case has also been heard already, this time in London.
You can read the full story about that here
Court judgements on each of those will be given shortly, but in the meantime Cardiff are delighted to have done a deal with Hammam.
The case involving the Bluebirds’ former owner was scheduled to go to trial in the High Court in mid-May.
It would have been an explosive hearing, with Hammam and Tan each called as star witnesses and a public slanging match likely to ensue which would have done the football club no good.
However, that scenario has been avoided after intense behind the scenes talks which have seen Hammam agree to drop his legal action.
It was under Hammam’s stewardship at the beginning of this century that the Bluebirds began rising again, achieving promotions from League Two and League One.
Tan has since taken things onto the next level, Cardiff twice going into the Premier League and challenging near the top of the Championship.
Hammam had been given the ‘Ceremonial, Non-Executive’ Presidency position as part of what Cardiff felt was an act of goodwill whilst paying off the problematic Langston debt.
But Tan and Hammam quickly fell out and became embroiled in a bitter dispute over the terms of the Presidency.
Hammam stopped coming to matches but never lost his passion for Cardiff City, part of him feeling he still had unfinished business with the club.
The two parties were at first poles apart in what they felt the monetary value should be of the Presidency and the conditions under which the role was agreed.
But those differences have thankfully been put to one side.
Having done the deal with Hammam, Cardiff will next focus upon the cases involving Nantes and Isaac, which together also run into multi-millions.
The outcome of the three legal cases will play a significant role in what happens next under Tan’s stewardship in terms of the budget available to manager Steve Morison in the summer transfer window.
But Cardiff are delighted one of the cases, at least, has already been settled to their satisfaction.
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