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Watford Football Club has ditched Eversheds for Mishcon de Reya to fight the £2m claim brought by former coach Gianluca Vialli.
The case has been passed to Mishcon's respected employment and media lawyer James Libson, who successfully defended Penguin against historian David Irving's defamation claims.
Libson and Mishcon's senior assistant Daniel Naftalin, who is the recommended adviser for employees made redundant by the FA, have accepted liability in relation to Vialli's claim of unfair dismissal. A trial, a date for which will be fixed within the next few months, will determine Watford's quantum liability and the club's counterclaim.
Eversheds' employment partner Paul Fontes was instructed for approximately six months before the case was passed to Mishcons. It is understood that the reason for the transfer stemmed from concerns over Eversheds' strategy and the amount of fees that Watford paid to the firm. The club traditionally used Eversheds for its employment work, it is understood. Eversheds declined to comment.
Watford has several counterclaims and is expected to argue that Vialli could have made more effort to minimise his loss, for instance by signing up with one of the several clubs who made him offers soon after his departure from Watford. The club hopes to pay compensation equivalent to one year of his Watford pay.