Former Lille coach Marcelo Bielsa has been ordered to pay US$370,000 in damages to the French football team after a court rejected his claim that the northern club should go into financial administration.
The court in Lille said Monday there was no legal ground for Bielsa's request. He can appeal the decision. The Argentine coach was fired for serious misconduct in December following a string of poor results. According to French media, Bielsa asked for nearly US$22 million for damages and the remainder of his contract, which was due to expire in June 2019.
After finishing 11th last season, Lille hired Bielsa with the lofty aim of qualifying for the Champions League. Lille also recruited more than a dozen players, but the team struggled badly.
"The financial difficulties invented by Mr. Bielsa, who had asked Lille to be put in a situation of cessation of payments, were totally baseless," Lille lawyer Thomas Deschryver said. "It's a new victory for the club, which has always said it will provide the required guarantee to ensure it will continue to exist."
Bielsa returned to France two years after abruptly quitting Marseille amid a contract dispute. Having said he would sign a new contract, he walked out after only one game in August 2015. One year later, the hot-tempered coach quit Italian club Lazio two days after signing in July 2016.