Derby County have sacked captain Richard Keogh following his involvement in a car crash that resulted in two of his teammates being arrested and him being seriously injured in late September.
The club held a team bonding session on 24 September, in which alcohol was permitted in moderation. However, Keogh, Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett ended up staying later to continue drinking and things escalated, resulting in Lawrence driving his car into the back of Bennett's before hitting a lamppost.
Keogh sustained serious knee ligament damage and was ruled out for between 12-14 months, meaning he wouldn't return to action until late 2020. Both Lawrence and Bennett were fined the equivalent of six weeks' wages and ordered to serve 180 hours of community service, while the club captain was told he would be able to see out the remainder of his contract on reduced terms.
However, the Guardian has now revealed that the centre-back has been sacked, after the player failed to agree to a pay cut. The report states that he was paid £24,000-per-week in a deal that ran until the summer of 2020, but following the events of last month, the club told him he could stay as long as he was willing to agree to a 'massive' pay cut.
Derby's offer to him would have seen him earn 'a fraction' of the money he would otherwise have earned from his original contract. As a result, Keogh deemed this 'unacceptable' and has now involved his lawyers in the matter, while the Professional Footballers’ Association has also been made aware of the situation.
Derby terminated the player's contract with immediate effect on Wednesday, but Keogh has the right to appeal within 14 days. The club, as per the same report from the Guardian, also go on to say: “The club will not tolerate any of its players or staff behaving in a manner which puts themselves, their colleagues, and members of the general public at risk of injury or worse, or which brings the club into disrepute.
"The club will be making no further comment at this time regarding this matter until the conclusion of any potential appeal.”
The defender has played 356 games for the Rams, following his move from Coventry back in 2011, and although he is thought to feel badly let down by the club, it remains to be seen whether he decides to appeal the decision.