Castleford Tigers have expressed their “disappointment” at the official announcement of Denny Solomona’s departure and confirmed their intent to launch legal proceedings.
Sale Sharks confirmed on Tuesday that the winger had signed a three-year deal with them, despite being under contract at Castleford until the end of the 2018 season.
In a statement, the club’s chief executive officer Steve Gill accused Solomona of “walking away” from the club while saying Sale have “disregarded” warnings Castleford had sent to the club.
Castleford are now pursuing legal action against Denny Solomona for breach of contract and damages against Sale Sharks Ltd and Solomona’s agent, Andrew Clarke, who had recently been under investigation by the RFL for his involvement in the deal.
“We have lost a quality player who scored 42 tries last season and broke the Super League try scoring record in the 2016 season,” Gill said.
“As a club we always try our best to look after our players. We have strong values of honesty and integrity and that’s what we endeavour to instil into all of our players and staff,”
“If the shoe was on the other foot and Solomona had suffered a career ending injury in the last match of the season there would have been an absolute obligation on us to honour our contractual obligations. We look after our players and fully expect our players to respect their contractual commitments. Sadly and with regret Solomona has done the polar opposite and effectively and unilaterally walked away from the remaining two years on his contract.
“In August this year we made it very clear to Solomona & to Sale Sharks that there was an unbreakable contract in place until the end of season 2018 with no basis whatsoever for either ourselves or Solomona to depart from each other’s mutual obligations. The idea of losing the player was not welcomed by us and we have repeatedly told Sale Sharks that it would be impermissible for them to talk to Solomona let alone sign him. Clear unequivocal warnings have clearly been disregarded.
“Unfortunately we are not privy to what has happened over the last three months between Solomona and his agent but on the back of losing the player in the circumstances described and now announced by Sale Sharks we confirm that today we have issued Proceedings out of the High Court in Leeds for damages against Denny Solomona for breach of contract (dated 20 November 2015) and for damages including exemplary damages against Sale Sharks Ltd & Andrew Clarke (Solomona’s agent) for inducing breach of the said contract.”
“The proceedings have been issued as a last resort having failed over the last couple of weeks to try and resolve matters without the formality of court proceedings. We have confidence that the legal system will bring out all of the facts and the truth. We are fighting this not just for Castleford Tigers but also for the integrity of all sports including of course Rugby Union clubs. Our belief is that all contracts are sacrosanct in professional & amateur sports.”