• Premier League

Everton settlement with Xmas party bust-up coach

ESPN staff
October 11, 2013

An Everton youth coach who lost his job after a fight with a female goalkeeper at a Christmas party has accepted an out-of-court settlement over his sacking.

Mick O'Brien, who captained Everton's 1998 FA Youth Cup-winning side and later played professionally for Torquay United, was initially suspended in December 2012, and never returned to his job.

His dismissal came after the club investigated allegations that he struck Danielle Hill, then a goalkeeper for Everton Ladies, at a staff Christmas party on December 16 last year. O'Brien then lodged tribunal papers claiming unfair dismissal, sexual discrimination, victimisation on the grounds of sexual orientation and breach of contract against his employers.

The 34-year-old, who had coached youngsters aged from nine to 11 while on the staff at Goodison Park, also claimed that Everton had failed to pay wages he believed he was owed and had not paid his statutory annual leave entitlement.

The hearing was listed to be heard at Liverpool Employment Tribunal Court on Thursday. But the court has confirmed that the matter is no longer listed to be heard by a tribunal judge as an agreement had been reached between Everton and O'Brien.

Everton have refused to comment on the matter, while O'Brien could not be contacted. The alleged incident involving took place outside the Blue Bar, which is on the Albert Dock on Liverpool's waterfront.

Hill, the 25-year-old granddaughter of former Liverpool striker Tony Hateley and the niece of ex-England forward Mark Hateley, reported the alleged attack to police and went to hospital with minor facial injuries. She has since left Everton to join Norwegian club Avaldsnes.

Merseyside Police confirmed on Friday that they took no action against O'Brien or Hill, who both admitted their part in "a low-level offence".

A spokesman said: "The incident was fully investigated and, with the agreement of both parties, no further action was taken by the force.

"As neither person involved was previously known to the police and both admitted their part in what was a low-level offence, the matter was assessed as being suitable for the Restorative Justice scheme [an approach where those involved in an alleged criminal incident take an active role in resolving the issue themselves rather than resorting to legal action or pursuing punishment of the person accused].

"The complainant supported this course of action and both parties were informed that the circumstances of the incident will be held on file by Merseyside Police."

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