London: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is facing the prospect of dealing with a one million pound legal action under UK laws from controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen if they fail to offer him a new central contract by the end of this week.
According to the Telegraph, Pietersen has been advised he has strong grounds to bring an action for unfair dismissal and breach of contract against the ECB if his central contract is not renewed when it expires on September 30.
After service longer than 12 months, contracted staff is considered full-time employees in the eyes of the law. Pietersen has been centrally contracted by the ECB for six years and the failure to renew a fixed-term contract is technically dismissal by his employer, the paper said.
The paper reported that central contracts have been in existence for 12 years, but historically, there has always been a cricketing reason around ability to perform or fitness that has led to a player`s deal not being renewed.
In Pietersen`s case there is no cricketing reason to dismiss him. He will, in essence, have been sacked for disciplinary reasons, the paper adds.
A case for unfair dismissal would probably be easier for Pietersen to win but compensation payments are capped by the government at 72,000 pounds. However, breach of contract is far more serious, and the case would have to be heard in the High Court, opening up the prospect of a bigger payout, the paper said.
Pietersen`s basic salary is worth about 250,000 pounds, and for a player who appears in all forms of the game, he can earn about another 200,000 in appearance fees, the paper reported.
Bonuses for winning Test matches, Test series and one-day internationals would be added on top as well as earnings from endorsements and pension payments. Legal costs would also rack up the final payment were he to win a court case, the paper concluded.