Australian bid to stop Williams playing in France
Canterbury Bulldogs win permission to serve papers to star Sonny Bill Williams over his defection.5 August 2008
SYDNEY - The Australian club of runaway rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams on Tuesday won permission to serve legal papers against the backrower in its bid to prevent him playing in France.
Williams flew out of Australia on 26 July and has now switched codes and signed with French union side Toulon despite being one year into a five-year contract with National Rugby League (NRL) team the Canterbury Bulldogs.
The New South Wales Supreme Court Tuesday approved the last-ditch effort by legal teams for the Bulldogs and the NRL to prevent 23-year-old Williams from taking the field for Toulon, national news agency AAP reported.
Justice Robert Austin said documents could be served to Williams' associates as substitutes, following failed attempts to serve the papers to the footballer directly last week, it reported.
The papers will explain that the court will on Friday hear an application for an injunction against Williams playing for Toulon later that day in France.
Williams' abrupt departure from Australia sent shockwaves through the NRL which has united with Canterbury to try to legally enforce the backrower’s contract and prevent a feared mass exit of elite players to cashed-up European clubs.
A barrister for the Bulldogs, Arthur Moses, told the court Tuesday that the club would be seeking damages from the Toulon club and from Williams' manager, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on its website.
Toulon's president Mourad Boudjellal on Monday appeared untroubled by the threat of legal action.
"Our problem is: Is Williams under contract with another rugby union side? The answer is no. Therefore he's free to join with whoever he wants, he doesn't need a letter to leave," he told AFP.
[AFP / Expatica]