Former England legspinner employment dispute April 22, 2005

Schofield wins case for unfair dismissal

Cricinfo staff

Chris Schofield: won his case against Lancashire but still unemployed © Getty Images

Chris Schofield, the former England legspinner, has won his case for unfair dismissal against Lancashire, after a three-man panel at the Manchester employment tribunal found in his favour, following a final day of submissions from both sides.

Schofield, 26, was released by Lancashire at the end of last season but was only told about the decision very late and believed it hampered his chances of finding a new county for this summer. However, Mike Watkinson, the Lancashire cricket manager, presented evidence that counties would not have been interested in signing Schofield even if they had known about his availability earlier.

Under the rules in player contracts counties have to appraise their players throughout the season, informing them of areas to improve and any decisions regarding their future. But Lancashire claimed that if they had followed the procedure of verbal warnings it would have affected Schofield's performances even further.

He now hopes that the end of this case can mark a fresh start for him and he still hopes to have a county cricket career. "It's been a long six months but I'm pleased they've come to the right decision," Schofield told The Press Association. "We've still got another couple of weeks to wait to see what's going to become of it but hopefully I can get back on with my cricket career now.

"I'm a cricketer first and foremost and I've never wanted to be sat in a court over this. Just last week was the start of the championship and to be not involved in one way or another was very hard. It's been frustrating and difficult for me but hopefully now counties will see I was in the right to do this and an opportunity will arise with one of them."

Schofield was one of the first group of players to be awarded an ECB central contract in 2000, playing two Tests against Zimbabwe that summer, then having a successful A tour the following winter. However his performances waned to such an extent that he lost his place in the Lancashire side and made just three Championship appearances in 2004, although he did make a career best 99 against Warwickshire.

The level of compensation has yet to be agreed and Lancashire may yet appeal when this has been set. Meanwhile, Schofield will return to play for his old club, Littleborough, as he tries to find new employment.