A LONG-RUNNING dispute which has divided a football club has now been settled out of court at a cost of £20,000.
The threat of legal action forced Lizard Argyle Football Club to pay a lump sum to its former stewards, Robin and Michelle Ford.
The couple said they intended to take the club to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal after they left in May.
The Fords and committee members fell out about how the social club was run and the divide has caused a rift.
Members were told at a committee meeting last week that the payout and legal costs totalled £20,000.
Club chairman Ben Charity, who took over the post only two months ago, said he knew this was going to be one of his first jobs to sort out.
He told the West Briton: “All I can say is that a legal action was made against the football and social club by the Fords.
“A settlement has been reached which means we don’t have to go to court.”
Lizard postman Mr Ford has a long association with the club as a player, manager, steward and recently as bar manager.
He said: “Having played at Lizard Argyle for 35 years with more than 10 years’ managing, we did not take the route of an employment tribunal lightly.
“Over the past ten years as stewards, we put a tremendous amount of our free time and money into the club.
“Due to the actions of some of the committee, my wife and I were unable to continue as stewards at the club.
“The past 12 months have been stressful for us and I am disappointed the club has put itself in this avoidable situation.
“We have received an out-of-court settlement and an apology from the club.”
He said he only wishes the best for the club and added: “We’ve also been overwhelmed by the massive support from club members.”
The payout has been significant but affordable for the club, said Mr Charity.
He said: “It’s a small football club and this has obviously put us under huge pressure. The club stands by its legal commitments and always will in the future.
“In fact, the club is going from strength to strength. Turnover has risen significantly in the past year with more people going to games than ever before.”