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Dubai axe earns former Leeds manager £3.4m

DAVID O'LEARY has received a £3.4m belated birthday present in the form of compensation from Dubai club Al-Ahli after successfully contesting his dismissal in 2011.

The Irishman – who turned 55 on Thursday – was in charge of the volatile outfit for just eight months before being shown the door, winning six of 15 games in his time there.

Al-Ahli claimed that O'Leary had abandoned his post, but the Dubliner insisted he had been sacked and the protracted case ended up being brought before FIFA's player status committee.

FIFA ruled in favour of O'Leary and dismissed the suggestion from Al-Ahli that the governing body had no jurisdiction over the case. The payment represents two full years of his contract.

"It has taken a long time to deal with this matter, but I am pleased that all issues have now been finalised," said O'Leary, in a statement released through the League Managers Association. "I hope my case provides reassurance to all managers and coaches working all over the world that there is a formal system in place that provides employment protection."

O'Leary has not worked in football since leaving the UAE and has been off the English scene since his departure from Aston Villa in 2006.

The pay-out is welcome news for his family with his plight contrasting with that of his brother Pierce, who was last month declared bankrupt in Scotland after failing to settle debts of over £200,000 arising from his cleaning business in Glasgow.

Irish Independent