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Adrian Lam content to play waiting game over role at Wigan

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Adrian Lam

Wigan interim head coach Adrian Lam is content to play the waiting game as the Shaun Edwards saga rumbles.

The Warriors announced last August that Edwards had signed a three-year contract from 2020 but the former Wigan and Great Britain half-back has revealed he has not signed a deal.

The Warriors have yet to add to their statement issued on Monday in which they said they were seeking clarification from Edwards amid suggestions that he would be out of work when his commitments with Wales end after the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup.

And a sports contract lawyer has indicated the Super League champions would be in a strong position if the matter went to court.

Lam, who was appointed as the successor to Shaun Wane on a 12-month deal, says he is constant touch with Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan and rugby executive Kris Radlinksi but is more concerned with turning around the fortunes of the team after just one win from the first six league games.

“I talk to the club with Kris and Ian all the time,” said Lam at the club’s training ground at Robin Park. “Obviously this is an ongoing situation. They need to get to the bottom of it.

Adrian Lam
Lam replaced Shaun Wane as Warriors coach this season (Martin Rickett/PA)

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“I’m not too sure where that’s at, I’m sure they’ll keep me up to date once it keeps moving forward.”

Lam says he has interests outside of rugby to look forward to back in Sydney once his commitments with Wigan finish and he says no discussions have been held about the possibility of him extending his stay.

“They haven’t brought that up at the moment,” he said. “My focus as a coach is to get a win and get us back on a roll.

“If I left here and went back home, I’ve already got four or five things on the go there.

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“None of them are rugby-related at the moment. There has been a little bit of interest but my focus has been on my role here.”

Shaun Edwards File Photo
Shaun Edwards revealed he has not signed a deal with Wigan (Ben Birchall/PA)

Meanwhile, sports lawyer Peter Stewart, an associate at Cooke, Young & Keidan, says an oral contract between Edwards and Wigan would be binding but any dispute would be unlikely to go to court.

He said: “In a case such as this, the primary issue that needs to be resolved is whether or not an employment contract was formed between the Wigan Warriors and Mr Edwards.

“There is no legal requirement under English law for an employee to have a signed contract with his or her employer. An oral contract is binding.

“Nevertheless, there must have been both certainty during the talks between the club and Mr Edwards in August 2018 as to the principal terms (salary, duration of the employment etc.) and an intention on the part of both parties that the verbally agreed terms would be legally binding.

“In the absence of a signed contract, these requirements are more difficult to prove.

Rugby League – Silk Cut Challenge Cup Final – Wigan v Leeds – Wembley Stadium
Shaun Edwards played over 400 games for Wigan between 1983 and 1997 (Rebecca Naden/PA)

“On the assumption that an oral contract does exist and, if Mr Edwards were to take up employment elsewhere, it might be possible for Wigan Warriors to bring a claim against him for breach of contract if it can show that it has suffered loss.

“It is, however, likely to be preferable for both parties to settle this matter without resorting to legal action.

“This would avoid the personal conflicts and significant legal costs that tend to arise in litigation of this kind, as well as the adverse publicity that often accompanies such public disagreements.”

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