Asian Tour could face more legal proceedings

The Asian Tour could face further legal proceedings from disgruntled golfers in the wake of losing a restraint of trade case last week brought by four players, lawyers have told Reuters.

A Singapore high court judge ruled the Asian Tour's policy to fine members $5,000, later increased to $10,000, if they competed on the OneAsia Tour was unfair and also said that they had been guilty of ‘sloppy administration’.

Judith Prakash said the Asian Tour must pay back the fines to Australians Terry Pilkadaris and Matthew Griffin, Dutchman Guido van der Valk and Malaysian Anis Helmi Hassan and cover all legal fees, which sources say amount to around S$500,000 ($410,200).

The Asian Tour have remained silent since, but legal experts have said the ruling in favour of the four players, who didn't seek damages, opens up possible avenues for others to make a loss of earnings claim.

“Losses generally can be recoverable but of course it must be subject to rules remoteness and causation,” Brown Pereira, a Singapore-based lawyer with more than 20 years experience and his own firm Brown Pereira & Co, told Reuters.

“They have to show a direct link between their loss of income and the prohibitive clauses on the Asian Tour. If they can show a link that they were denied playing in these tournaments because the prohibition of the Asian Tour clauses then they have a case.
“Secondly they have to show, like these four players, that they actually applied for a release and they were denied the release.

“He has to show he tried to apply and he was denied a release, we can't pre-empt the answer from the TPC (Tournament Player's Committee) or the Asian Tour.”

Chinese golfer Liang Wenchong was one of those fined by the Asian Tour for playing on OneAsia despite being denied a release. His manager Jacky Peng told Reuters the player was concentrating on finishing the season and would talk to the Asian Tour to find out more information at their next meeting.

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