Hearts adamant they owe Barnsley nothing as English club take legal action over Daniel Stendel
Edinburgh club confident documents prove German was free to join them
Hearts are confident they don't owe Barnsley a penny in compensation for Daniel Stendel after consulting lawyers on the appointment of their new manager.
The English Championship club are taking legal action to pursue a six-figure sum from Hearts for the German. However, the Tynecastle Park hierarchy have sought their own expert advice and are adamant they are not liable.
They will pass the matter on to their lawyers after confirming on Saturday that Stendel, 45, had signed a two-and-a-half-year contract to take over as manager. He is due to start his new job on Tuesday morning when he meets the players and will be unveiled to media in the afternoon.
Negotiations between the two clubs failed to produce a financial settlement prior to his appointment in Edinburgh, hence Barnsley now moving to take the dispute to the next stage.
Hearts will defend their position vigorously. They have given lawyers documentation which they believe proves Stendel is no longer under contract at Oakwell and therefore free to join a new club.
Barnsley sacked him in October and replaced him with the Austrian Gerhard Struber. However, Stendel did not receive any financial pay-off from his former employers. Barnsley are arguing that his contract, which ran until the end of the season, is still valid.
They released a strongly-worded statement claiming Stendel was dismissed for entering into negotiations with a rival English Championship club earlier this year.
Hearts responded to reassure fans that they have done everything by the book. "We are aware of the statement released by Barnsley Football Club earlier today in relation to our appointment of Daniel Stendel to the post of first-team manager," read a statement from Tynecastle.
"On behalf of the board of directors of Heart of Midlothian Football Club, we would like to reassure our supporters that we have followed all proper procedures in appointing Daniel Stendel. He was not an employee of Barnsley Football Club when we first consulted him and there is no basis on which Heart of Midlothian Football Club is liable to Barnsley Football Club.
"Misleading reports and statements to the contrary elsewhere are entirely false. Should any claim be commenced against Heart of Midlothian Football Club, it will be defended in the strongest possible terms.
"We are looking forward to supporting Daniel in what we hope will be a long and successful tenure at Heart of Midlothian. Given that we consider any threatened claim to be entirely without merit, we do not propose to comment further on this matter."
Barnsley's statement claimed they could not wait any longer to address the issue. It read: "In light of the team’s current standing we would like to address the Barnsley football community. The Board is fully behind the team and staff in place. Our performances have improved under Gerhard’s leadership and we are confident that results will follow.
"Barnsley Football Club would also like to finally address the separation with our former head coach Daniel Stendel. This may come as little consolation but it is only right that our supporters have a picture of what has taken place at their club.
"Early in the season, Daniel Stendel entered into negotiations with a rival Sky Bet Championship club, to take over their managerial post and recruited other members of contracted Barnsley Football Club staff to follow him. Never once did Mr. Stendel seek approval or alert members of the club’s board to these discussions.
"Only when approached, by the board, was there any sign of acknowledgement. This was a clear violation of Mr Stendel’s contract and created additional unnecessary distractions for our club, which was recently promoted to the Sky Bet Championship.
"This event, coupled with numerous other issues, led to removal of Mr Stendel as head coach. Out of respect for his contributions to the tremendous 2018/2019 season, we wanted to settle this matter privately and amicably out of the eye of the public.
"After two months of unproductive discussions (and the subsequent public announcement by Heart of Midlothian that he has joined them as their new manager), the club cannot wait any longer in speaking to its fans.
"More recently, we have attempted negotiations of a settlement with Heart of Midlothian Football Club for the services of Mr Stendel, Chris Stern, and Dale Tonge to no avail.
"The club will continue to vigorously defend its rights against all parties involved in tampering of club staff so the club recovers all damages incurred. All recovered damages will be reinvested in our squad."