Birmingham City have given notice of their intent to report Aston Villa’s alleged tapping up of Alex McLeish to the English Premier League.The Midlands rivals are engaged in a bitter tug-of-war over McLeish, who resigned from Birmingham in dubious circumstances on Sunday and is now being openly courted by Villa.
The Blues have suspected coercion from Villa since McLeish abruptly emailed his resignation to acting chairman Peter Pannu, who has demanded the club be compensated 5.4 million pounds as set out in McLeish’s contract.
Villa took the unusual step of publicly announcing their intention to interview McLeish ‘imminently’ for their vacant managerial role on Tuesday.
Feeling their suspicions have been confirmed, Birmingham have announced their forthcoming complaint to authorities in a bid to block any deal for the Scot’s signature.
“Birmingham City football club finds Aston Villa’s announcement today (Tuesday) to proceed with an interview with Alex McLeish a contempt of Premier League and FA rules,” a statement on Birmingham’s website read.
“The club feels this will taint football and give the game and the footballing authorities a bad name if this is allowed to materialise.”
“The club will do what is within its powers to prevent this and will lodge a formal complaint to the authorities tomorrow as there is now not the slightest doubt remaining about this tap up attempt.”
“Birmingham City stresses that this conduct, if condoned, will open up flood gates and set a very bad precedent.”
“This is also an attack against the intelligence and integrity of not only the Villa fans, but most importantly our fans who are badly let down after having just been relegated.”
“It is definitely a bitter pill to swallow for all fans concerned, both here and across the city.”
“Never have the two clubs seen such a strong unity between their rival fans and this unity is based on humility and integrity and what is right and fair.”
The club also responded to allegations from the League Managers’ Association that McLeish quit due to a lack of support in the transfer window and the sacking of his chief scout at St Andrews.
“The LMA’s announcement today is refuted as the club has a very rigid approval system where only players formally identified, and with approval forms signed and sanctioned by the manager personally are brought in,” the statement read.
“The chief scout was sacked only after Mr. McLeish was informed who at that time had chosen not to comment.”
“The allegations against the club, president Carson Yeung and the board are frivolous excuses and without foundation. The matter is now with Birmingham City FC’s lawyers and no further comments will be made.”