JDT owner TMJ hits back at former coach Mario Gomez over unpaid wages
Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) president Tunku Ismail Ibrahim (TMJ) has hit back at former head coach Mario Gomez over claims of unpaid wages.
Gomez left the club in January after almost two years in charge -- a period that included two Malaysia Super League titles and the 2015 AFC Cup.
Last month, he was appointed head coach of Persib Bandung in Indonesia, but he has claimed that there is an ongoing issue over payments due from his old club.
"We will see each other in court soon," Gomez told the Malay Mail. "They do not want to pay my salaries. My lawyer and I are working on presenting my case to FIFA. I will give them very sensitive information."
However, JDT soon responded with two sarcastic posts on social media.
"Keep on trying, Mario.. $$$ please take me to court because I have never been in one and I would like to experience it," TMJ said in the first Facebook post, which featured a picture if him in a very relaxed position.
The second post took aim at any suggestion JDT might be struggling to pay the money, due to financial hardship.
"I'm the Crown Prince of Johor. I don't need to mention how much I am worth. Does it make any sense that I am not able to pay a mere 60 thousand dollars?" TMJ said in the post.
JDT then took a more official if just as hostile line, with a more extensive post from JDT Technical Director Alistair Edwards.
In a post titled, "From JDT with love", Edwards made JDT's position clear on the matter, saying that Gomez had been responsible for paying his assistant Raul Longhi. Edwards also criticised Gomez for taking his grievance to the media.
"We do not intend to air this issue in public but because Mario Gomez has decided to so, we are left with little choice but to do the same," Edwards said.
"Mario Gomez has made a statement that JDT owes him salary payments. This is simply not true and mischievous on behalf of Mr. Gomez. The fact is that as part of Mr. Gomez's contract with JDT, he was required to pay the salary of his assistant Raul Longhi.
There is a proper channel in the legal system and hence shouldn't try to gather empty polemics by starting a trial via the media.
"Our line up of lawyers are prepared with all the facts because we are confident that the actions taken are accurate in line with the rules of law."
Next in the war of words came comments from JDT's assistant coach Longhi, who worked alongside Gomez at the club.
"I am very disappointed to read that Mario Gomez is claiming that he is owed salary from JDT," Longhi said. "Mario and I have spent many years at JDT and the club has been very generous and most importantly, never has our salary payments and bonuses been paid late.
"The agreement that I had with Mario Gomez and JDT was for my salary to be paid by Mario, this has been happening since I joined the club in 2015, firstly by Mario directly and later by the club secretary after Mario preferred and requested this arrangement due to convenience.
"What I am saddened about is suddenly, three years later Mario is attempting to discredit the club with false accusations."
Things have certainly got ugly in the dispute between Gomez and his former bosses at JDT.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK