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Bielsa ordered to pay damages to Lille

Former coach fails in first step of legal challenge but further hearing set for next week.

Marcelo Bielsa has been ordered to pay Lille over 300,000 euros (£270,000) in damages after a local court ruled against him in the dispute over his sacking by the club.

The Argentinian coach was suspended and later sacked for breach of contract after an unauthorised trip to Chile in November, having only taken charge in the summer.

He is claiming 18.6million euros (£16.6m) for unfair dismissal – a sum which could plunge the club into administration. They were subject to a transfer embargo for the January window after Bielsa’s expensive summer recruitment.

Thomas Deschryver, a lawyer for Lille quoted in L’Equipe, said: “The Lille Tribunal of Commerce has rejected the entirety of Mr Bielsa’s demands, which represents a victory for the club.

“The tribunal also considered that Mr Bielsa’s demands were so unreasonable that he was ordered to pay LOSC 300,000 euros in damages.”

Another of Lille’s lawyers, Bertrand Wambeke, added: “We are pleased with the decision but the legal fight is not over. We still have to defend ourselves until the end and we will do so with the same energy.”

Bielsa will appeal against the decision, with another hearing set for next Tuesday.

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