Saint-Étienne ordered to pay €850,000 in compensation to former goalkeeper Stéphane Ruffier

An industrial tribunal has ruled in favour of Stéphane Ruffier against his former club AS Saint-Étienne, after judging that the claim of ‘serious misconduct’ levelled at the now-retired goalkeeper was unfounded. 

Ruffier had been dismissed by the club at the end of 2020, six months before the finish date of his contract, due to disciplinary sanctions for alleged insubordination.

However, L’Équipe now reports that Saint-Étienne have been ordered to pay Ruffier just over €850,000 in compensation, for the ‘early termination of the fixed-term contract,’ as well as for damages and interest associated with the ‘disproportionate disciplinary sanction.’ 

Ruffier welcomes the decision

Ruffier, via his lawyer, has welcomed the decision made by the industrial tribunal. ‘It is a very good decision which recognises the disproportionate disciplinary sanctions and the unfounded dismissal for serious misconduct.’ 

His lawyer continued, by alleging that Ruffier had experienced a ‘long period of moral harassment carried out by coach Claude Puel and general manager Xavier Thulliot, who had the mission of reducing the payroll and firing the players who cost the most.’ 

Stressing further that the goalkeeper had undergone ‘a demolition business,’ ‘a campaign of undermining’, and that he had retired after ‘having his character assassinated.’ 

Saint-Étienne’s reaction

Saint-Étienne have responded with a statement detailing that ‘the club has taken note of the decision rendered by the industrial tribunal and is waiting to receive notification of it to consider further action.’ 

During the industrial tribunal, their lawyer alleged that Ruffier had committed ‘refractory behaviour in complete opposition to the coach’s directives from February 2020,’ continuing that he had ‘deliberately arrived late for training to show who (…) was the boss.’

The club’s lawyer also reportedly suggested that, ‘it was Stéphane Ruffier who sparked the controversy with a press campaign led by his agent Patrick Glanz aimed at destroying ASSE. Because, from the height of his excessive ego, he could not bear to be a substitute during a match

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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