Brisbane Roar have refuted accusations by former coach Robbie Fowler that he was wrongfully dismissed, insisting a club statement announcing the Liverpool icon’s June departure was “mutually agreed”.
The case, though, is headed for FIFA’s dispute resolution tribunal with Fowler seeking damages over the termination of his two-year contact with the A-League club.
Fowler, 45, was labelled "selfish" after it was disclosed last month he and assistant Tony Grant would not be returning to resume duties with the club they’d led to fourth on the ladder.
The pair had returned to England during the COVID-19 shutdown to be close to their families.
Fowler is adamant he intended to return, telling Nine newspapers: “They (the club) just suddenly turned gangster on us.”
Fowler added he “isn’t a quitter”, claiming his contract was summarily cancelled with the club citing supposedly damaging comments he made in a TV interview as the reason.
Roar vice-chairman Chris Fong told The World Game the club had not yet been served official notification of Fowler’s grievance going to the world governing body.
"Brisbane Roar released a statement in June 2020 regarding Robbie Fowler’s departure as head coach," he said.
"This statement was prepared and mutually agreed by Mr Fowler and the club.
“We are aware of the recent media reports.
“We have not been served, as claimed, any notifications of dispute.
“No further comments will be made by the club concerning this matter.”
Fowler told Nine: “Lots of people have opinions about me but one thing I’m not is selfish.
“I had a job to do and I wanted to finish that job. I wasn’t given the chance to go back and show people what we potentially could have done.
“I gave everything for the year for Brisbane Roar. My family were back and forth. I was over there on my own with just my No.2 and we gave everything that we had to help the club, to get them to where they are.
“Getting labelled 'selfish' and a 'quitter' and other things, it’s very poor play. I’m certainly not selfish and I’m not a quitter.”
In an interview with beIN Sports in June, Fowler detailed the uncertainty over a potential return date.
“I’m meant to take a pay cut and I’m meant to also try and make my own way over there," he said.
“I think the way I see it is if I’m taking a pay cut and I’m paying for my own flights over there, then it’s effectively costing me money to go and manage a team. That shouldn’t be the case.”
“Then [they] wanted me to pay my own flight going back. I said ‘if you want me to come back, you’ve got to at least pay for my flight’.
“Regardless of how much money [they] think I’ve got, if I’m stood down and I’m not getting paid … it [would be] costing me money.
“I just felt the club were looking for a way out, if I’m being totally honest."