The increasingly embittered dispute between Brighton & Hove Albion and their sacked manager, Gus Poyet, has taken another twist after the Championship club released a statement vehemently denying the Uruguayan's claim that he had been unaware of his dismissal until being told while working as a pundit on television.
Poyet, who was working on BBC's Match of the Day coverage of the Confederations Cup, appeared to be taken aback when informed by a member of the broadcaster's production team while on air on Sunday evening that his stint in charge club, which began in November 2009, had been curtailed. Poyet, who was suspended last month and was the subject of a disciplinary hearing last week, claimed he had received "no communication, no texts, no email" with the club following the conclusion of an internal inquiry over alleged breaches of contract. Brighton released a statement on Monday contradicting that suggestion.
"In relation to comments made by Gus Poyet on BBC Match of the Day, the club would like to point out that its disciplinary panel considered the matter on the afternoon of Friday 21 June and for most of Saturday 22 June," read the statement. "The club spent much of Sunday 23 June in discussion with Gus and his representatives.
"For legal reasons we cannot say anything about the content of those discussions but Gus was well aware, before he appeared on the BBC last evening, that his dismissal was pending. Given Gus has a right to appeal the decision to dismiss him, the club will not be making any further comment on this matter at this time." Poyet indicated on the BBC that he intended to appeal the decision.
Brighton intend to appoint the former Maccabi Tel Aviv manager, Oscar García, as Poyet's replacement but, with their players having reported back for pre-season testing on Monday, they have received an offer from their former manager Mark McGhee to step into the breach if necessary. McGhee, Gordon Strachan's No2 with Scotland, told the Argus: "I am here and available and if they wanted me for a couple of weeks without prejudice, then absolutely, I would be willing to help them."
The state of flux in the dugout is also hampering Brighton's ability to retain their out of contract players, with the Spanish midfielder, David López, still to commit to a new one-year deal at the club while awaiting the outcome of the managerial situation. The playmaker, who joined from Athletic Bilbao a year ago, is considering other offers from Spain and England.