Former Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan has been awarded £2m damages plus interest after winning his case against the club for constructive dismissal.
The panel agreed that in signing Uruguayan midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez, against Keegan’s wishes, the club were in breach of a term in his contract.
It was also agreed that Keegan would receive no further damages.
Keegan parted company with the club, owned by businessman Mike Ashley, in September 2008.
A relieved Keegan said in a statement: “I am delighted that the Premier League manager’s arbitration tribunal has today formally announced that it has upheld my claim for wrongful dismissal against Newcastle United.
“The tribunal has found the conduct of the club in forcing a player on me against my wishes represented a fundamental breach of my contract of employment.
“I do not believe that there is any manager in football who could have remained at the club in the light of their conduct.
“I also want to confirm that a central purpose of my claim has always been to clear my name and restore my reputation.
“I consider it of vital importance that I was able to let people know about the full circumstances of my resignation and the way in which I had been treated by the club. I hope that this purpose has now been achieved.”
Newcastle refused to comment on the case, merely reporting the panel’s decision and publishing the official report.
The transfer of Gonzalez features heavily in the report, as does the relationship between Dennis Wise, Tony Jimenez and Ashley with Keegan.
In particular, the report concludes that the deal to bring Gonzalez to the club, on a loan basis, was “in the commercial interests of the Club.”
The report continued: “The ‘commercial interests’, according to the club, were that the signing of the player on loan would be a ‘favour’ to two influential South American agents who would look favourably on the club in the future.
“The loan deal cost the club nearly £1m in wages for a player who was not expected to play for the first team but no payment was made by the club to the agents in respect of the deal.”
It was Ashley who brought Keegan back to Newcastle for his second spell in charge at St James’ Park in January 2008, following the termination of Sam Allardyce’s contract.
The report states that Keegan was offered a deal which was worth an initial £3m per annum for three-and-a-half years, a figure which was the basis behind his initial damages claim in the region of £8.5m for his agreed spell in charge, and a reported figure in the region of £25m for the length of his career in football before retirement at the presumed age of 65.
Ashley’s decision proved a popular one with supporters, who recalled the former England boss’s initial spell in charge on Tyneside and the cavalier football his sides played during a four year stay at the club in the 1990s.
Having retained the club’s Premier League status that season, Keegan and chairman Mike Ashley appeared to have a strong relationship, but this strained when Dennis Wise was appointed as an executive director of football.
Keegan began the 2008-09 Premier League season in charge, leading the club to two wins, a draw and a defeat in four league and cup matches before leaving on the Thursday, 4 September 2008.