Sport

Sunday 22 October 2017

Josh Robinson transfer saga set to rumble on

Josh Robinson will spend next season at Linfield
Josh Robinson will spend next season at Linfield

The furore over Josh Robinson's move to Linfield is set to rumble on after Belfast rivals Crusaders claimed the defender breached a contract he had already signed with them.

The two Irish League clubs were at the centre of a transfer tug of war on Thursday evening as they both announced the 24-year-old had joined them following his release from York.

On Friday, after reigning champions Linfield released a series of images of Robinson in a Blues shirt, the Irish Football Association stepped in to clarify that the defender's registration as a Linfield player had been sanctioned, with the governing body receiving their paperwork three hours before they had the documentation from Crusaders.

However, the Crues responded with a strong 10-point statement on Friday evening in which they stated they were seeking legal advice having been "highly offended" by Robinson's actions.

The IFA statement's read: "The Irish FA received standard professional contract forms for Josh Robinson from both Linfield FC (7:56pm) and Crusaders FC (10:56pm) yesterday (Thursday) evening.

"Having considered the documentation received from both clubs, and based upon Irish FA regulations regarding priority of registrations, the Irish FA can confirm that the player is successfully registered with Linfield FC."

Robinson had agreed a three-year deal with David Healy's Linfield and was with Northern Ireland's record goalscorer at Windsor Park on Friday for a series of images that Blues released.

Crusaders, whom Robinson won two titles with prior to crossing the water last summer, issued their response to the saga on Friday evening in which they detailed the arrangement they claim to have come to with the player.

They stated Robinson approached them in May and signed a deal at one of their directors' homes in June, with the player requesting the contract begin on June 29 so he could arrange the termination of his York deal.

Robinson trained with Crusaders as recently as Tuesday and had ordered training kit and requested a squad number. Crues then lodged the registration form with the IFA on Thursday, only to be told by email on Friday that Robinson had already been registered with Linfield.

Part of Crusaders' statement read: "The club has sought senior legal consul (sic) on these matters and notwithstanding the registration issue there has been a clear breach of contract by Mr Robinson in respect of his employment contract with Crusaders FC commencing 00.01 hrs on 29/6/17.

"Crusaders FC are considering their position in relation to their losses and damages in relation to this breach, and any third party or individual that has "induced" this breech of employment contract.

"The events of the last 24 hours are highly irregular and are to be discouraged, so must not go unchallenged for fear of setting a precedent.

"Crusaders FC staff, players, directors and supporters have been highly offended by the actions of Mr Robinson and the disrepute brought to Irish Football in general and Crusaders FC in particular."

Even former world champion boxer Carl Frampton, a Crusaders fan, weighed in on the situation on Twitter by tagging in Robinson.

"I'm very happy to announce that @JR_LFC5 has also signed for my 5-a-side team," he joked.

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