London: Former Lancashire captain John Crawley was released from his contract on Friday after a bitter dispute.
The one-time England batsman is to join Lancashire's First Division County Championship rival Hampshire for the forthcoming season, although his new team had to pay a five figure compensation package for his services. "Lancashire County Cricket Club wish to announce the release of John Crawley from his contract with the club forthwith. He will be joining Hampshire County Cricket Club," a statement issued by Lancashire on Friday said. "Crawley approached Lancashire and asked to be released from the final three years of the five-year fixed term contract he entered into with the club in September 1999. "Following a period of protracted negotiation, the club has agreed to release John from his contract upon the payment to the club by him and Hampshire County Cricket Club Limited of a suitable five figure compensation payment," the statement said. "The exact terms agreed between the parties are subject to a formal written agreement which is the subject of a confidentiality obligation. The club wish to place on record their thanks to John for his 12 years of service to the county." Crawley made it clear that he wanted to leave Lancashire at the end of the last season when he was removed from the captaincy after a disappointing campaign that saw the Old Trafford-based side flirt with relegation. He claimed constructive dismissal, even hiring Cherie Booth, the barrister-wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair to appear for him at an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) contract hearing. But English cricket's governing body ruled in favour of the county. Such was Crawley's dismay at having the captaincy taken away from him, he announced his 'resignation' from the county despite his contractual position. "As far as I'm concerned I am no longer a Lancashire player, and in fact coach Mike Watkinson has told me not to attend any training sessions involving the playing staff," he said at that time.
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