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Fulham Dispute Over Crouch Signing Sent to Arbitration

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Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- English soccer club Fulham’s lawsuit against the Football Association, Premier League and Chairman Dave Richards was sent to arbitration by a London judge.

Fulham says in the complaint that Richards interfered with negotiations over the transfer of striker Peter Crouch from Portsmouth in July of last year. The club claims that Richards unfairly helped Tottenham Hotspur, a rival London team, buy the England player despite Fulham’s interest.

Justice Geoffrey Vos in London said the dispute “falls squarely within the terms of the arbitration agreements,” and it is “legal commonsense” that the lawsuit should be stopped to allow arbitration to take place.

Fulham had been seeking a court order removing Richards as chairman of the league, stopping him from being a league director, and restraining him from participating in future player transfer negotiations, the judgment said.

“Fulham intends to take its case to the Court of Appeal so that this important issue can be resolved in its favor,” the club said in an e-mailed statement.

Premier League spokesman Nick Noble declined to comment.

The case is Fulham Football Club (1987) Limited -and- (1) Sir David Richards, (2) The Football Association Premier League Limited, High Court of London.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Lumley in London jlumley1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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