French club claims millions from Ebersohn
Toyota Cheetahs star midfielder Robert Ebersohn has been threatened with a “penalty” of more than R4-million after he said no to joining French club Montpellier at the end of this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.
But it is difficult to see how the French club would be able to make such a threat a reality after Ebersohn was refused release from his current contract at the Free State Cheetahs.
The midfielder, who has been one of the stars of the Cheetahs season thus far, was headhunted by Montpellier earlier in the year, but as supersport.com reported he decided not to take up the offer.
Now a bizarre report in French newspaper Midre Libre quotes Montpellier president Mohed Altrad as saying that if Ebersohn fails to arrive, he will be held responsible for a penalty of around €400 000 (approximately R4,7-million) for breaking the contract.
Altrad told the newspaper in French that Ebersohn and Blues utility back Rene Ranger were expected to arrive for the European season.
“When you sign a new player, you do your research. And we make sure the contract says if he does not (show), he will pay a significant penalty in the range of €300 to €400 000. However, the mentality in Montpellier, I do not want capricious stars. Here, the star is the team. We do not want that person.....It's like a business, I will not accept it,” Altrad told the newspaper (translated by google translate).
But Ebersohn has denied any promises were made, and through his agents, the Essentially group, released a statement about the negotiations, reiterating he was denied a release by the Cheetahs.
“Montpellier did make me an offer to join the Club after Super Rugby in August. I was prepared to accept the offer of the Club in the event that the Cheetahs would release me. This was not possible and the offer has expired,” Ebersohn said in the statement.
“I made it clear that my focus is on doing my best for the Cheetahs for the remainder of the Super Rugby competition and I still dream of becoming a Springbok if the powers that be should decide I am deserving of this honour. I am not prepared to speculate further on my future career until such time as the Super Rugby competition has been completed in 2013 and time has dictated whether I have been selected for the Springboks or not.”
Ebersohn was rewarded for his early season form by being included into a 36-man Springbok training group, and is close to selection if he continues to play in the same manner as he has all season.