Flanagan could take Sharks to court
The deteriorating relationship between former Sharks coach Shane Flanagan and the Cronulla club could end up in court.
Flanagan, who has until Thursday to respond to a breach notice from the NRL over allegations he broke the terms of a 2014 suspension, will claim the majority of emails he sent were in response to correspondence initiated by club staff.
The future of the 2016 premiership-winning coach hangs by a thread. Flanagan resigned from the Cronulla coaching position last week after being deregistered in late December for defying an NRL edict which prevented him contacting club officials during his 12-month peptide suspension.
It is understood Flanagan has spoken to his lawyer, Ramy Qutami, a director and managing director at Sydney-based Madison Marcus law firm, about all options open to him, including legal action against his former club.
The move would cause Flanagan considerable angst and while no legal letter has yet been sent, the information will form part of his response to the NRL's breach notice.
It is understood Cronulla officials have now distanced themselves from Flanagan, who is believed to be funding his own appeal to the NRL.
Flanagan is dealing directly with the NRL.
Sharks chief executive Barry Russell told The Daily Telegraph he had not heard of any move by Flanagan to take legal action against the club.
There are suggestions Flanagan and Russell's friendship has been affected through the drama, given it was the CEO's self-reporting of salary cap irregularities that instigated an NRL investigation that uncovered unrelated emails from Flanagan and the club in 2014.
Qutami represents clients of well-known sports manager Wayne Beavis, including Trent Barrett, Jarryd Hayne and Dylan Walker.
The Daily Telegraph understands Qutami has been helping with Flanagan's submission to the NRL in response to his indefinite deregistration.
Flanagan's submission is due at NRL headquarters by tomorrow.
The NRL will assess Flanagan's submission before making a decision. There is no time frame on when that decision will be reached.
Qutami was not commenting on Tuesday. Flanagan continues to maintain his silence.
The NRL said Flanagan had not sought any time extension for his appeal.
Those close to Flanagan and Qutami are hoping the coach will only face a suspension of around six months, but it's believed the NRL is likely to push for a longer punishment.
The NRL suspended Flanagan for a year in 2014 for his role in the club's peptide scandal.
One of the conditions for Flanagan's return was that he not contact club officials or players.
According to the NRL, Flanagan was in contact with the club around 60 times. But the former coach claims the correspondence revolved around the retention and recruitment of players for 2015, once his ban had expired.
Flanagan may be forced to England to coach before a possible return to the NRL.
He could assist Warrington coach Steve Price, given Flanagan gave Price an opportunity as an assistant at Cronulla.
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