Simmons begins legal fight against deportation

Phil Simmons's legal challenge over his dismissal by Zimbabwe Cricket began in Harare High Court on Monday

Cricinfo staff

Phil Simmons is seeking compensation for being sacked without proper notification © Getty Images
Phil Simmons's legal challenge over his dismissal by Zimbabwe Cricket began in Harare High Court on Monday. Simmons claims that his sacking earlier this month was illegal as the decision to terminate his contract was not undertaken in accordance with the board's own constitution.

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Justice Benjamin Hlatshwayo spent 25 minutes listening to arguments by both sides. Julie Wood, acting for Simmons, told the judge that Ozias Bvute, ZC's managing director, did not have any authority to terminate the contract because he was not a member of the ZC board of directors. She explained the order should have come from Peter Chingoka, the board's chairman.

Andrew Mukandiwa, representing ZC, disputed this, saying a letter was presented to the Simmons.

Judge Hlatshwayo held the matter over until Friday morning, when he will hear further legal argument and witness statements. Zimbabwe's players have sent a letter to the board asking for Simmons's reinstatement as coach.

Simmons was replaced by Kevin Curran, a former Zimbabwe international. Sources close to the players have indicated that Curran is seen as being too close to the board and that despite statements to the contrary, his appointment has not been well received.

If Simmons loses the case then he faces immediate deportation. However, even if he wins, he may still be expelled. Zimbabwe's authorities have a history of acting with disregard for the courts, expelling a number of foreigners even when the due legal process has found in their favour. The highest profile incident involved Andrew Meldrum, the Guardian reporter, who was forced to leave in 2003 despite court orders permitting him to remain.

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