Saturday, January 17, 2009

'Munich gesture' footballer John Lawless in legal move

Jan 17 2009

Luke Traynor

A FOOTBALLER accused of mocking the Munich air disaster is considering legal action against his club.

Marine FC bosses terminated midfielder John Lawless’ contract this following the incident at Manchester-based FC United.

It was claimed the 20-year-old made an aeroplane motion with his arms while taking a corner during the clash.

But his solicitor said the Football Association is expected to confirm there was no evidence to support the allegations.

And he claimed the player and his Liverpool-based team-mates were subjected to persistent anti-Liverpool chants from FC United supporters at the game played at Gigg Lane, Bury.

Ged Nolan, from firm Canter Levin and Berg, told the ECHO they suffered a “torrent of abuse” with some songs mocking the Hillsborough tragedy.

He added: “All Mr Lawless is interested in is the football. If anyone was subjected to abuse it wasn’t the FC United supporters.

“I need now to see the referee’s report and speak to Marine FC.

“No statements were made by any supporters. There was no police report that mentioned it or any official police complaint.

“I understand the majority of FC United games are recorded so I will seek any video evidence which may be available.”

It is understood Mr Lawless’ legal team will say that Marine FC acted hastily by terminating the player’s contract.

The 1958 Munich air crash left 23 people dead, including eight Manchester United players.

A spokesman for FC United today told the ECHO they “categorically denied” allegations their supporters mocked the Hillsborough disaster.

He said: “There was the usual Manchester-Merseyside banter but nothing that was distasteful.”

Mr Lawless, who comes from Croxteth, declined to comment while the investigation continues.

FC United was formed in 2005 by Manchester United fans opposed to Malcolm Glazer’s Old Trafford takeover.