Sunderland AFC have released a statement regarding the situation with Papy Djilobodji, which appears to be the official confirmation of legal proceedings.
As Sunderland owner Stewart Donald noted on the Roker Rapport Podcast at the weekend, Djilobodji arrived late and overweight from his summer break and, as such, the club have sought legal advice on the situation with regards to potentially sacking him and suing the player for financial losses made as a result.
The article on SAFC.com reads:
Sunderland AFC has given notice under its contract with Papy Djilobodji. Djilobodji, who was under contract to SAFC until June 2020, indicated in June 2018 that he wished to leave the club.
In order to facilitate that desire, the club entered into a written agreement with the player allowing him to spend the month of July on voluntary unpaid leave.
When that period came to an end, the player was expected either to leave for a new club – having reached a deal satisfactory to himself and SAFC - or to return in shape to play professional football. Instead, he returned to Sunderland over a month later, in the first week of September, ignoring written requests for his return. On his return, he was subjected to the same fitness test that his fellow professionals had undertaken on their return. He comprehensively failed that test.
As a result, Sunderland AFC can confirm that it has accepted Papy Djilobodji’s repudiatory breaches of contract and notice of the same has been provided to the player.
Two posts on the popular forum ReadyToGo.Net by a poster called ‘Grumpy Old Man’ perhaps summarise what this means best - so here they are.
Interesting wording. What they’re saying is that he has, in effect, unilaterally terminated his own contract, and the club are simply recognising that as a fact. Unless he can establish good cause for the repudiation, then under UEFA and FIFA regulations he’s open to action by the club for a) the remainder of his contract value and b) loss of transfer income, as he’s the one in breach.
... it makes it clear that the breach is entirely one-sided, and the club have, in essence, been forced into accepting the situation. Whether they actually chase him for any money is debatable; there won’t be any wage payments, and the may decide that any incoming transfer potential is so low that it’s not worth the related legal costs to pursue.
It would appear then that things are ramping up a bit - what we can be sure of, however, is that this is only the start, and that this process won’t be an easy or clean one.