Gardening leave: Explaining decision made by Newcastle on Dan Ashworth after Man United’s approach

FOOTBALL Gardening leave: Explaining decision made by Newcastle on Dan Ashworth after Man United’s approach

Joel Omotto 21:50 - 19.02.2024

Newcastle have placed Sporting Director Dan Ashworth on gardening leave after he confirmed that he wants to join rivals Manchester United but what does that even mean?

Newcastle United have finally confirmed that Sporting Director Dan Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave following an approach from Premier League rivals Manchester United.

The highly-sought-after transfer guru agreed to join United following an approach from the Sir Jim Ratcliffe-backed INEOS Group that has taken over sporting control of the Red Devils after the British billionaire purchased a 25 per cent stake into the club.

However, Newcastle have not taken lightly the decision and instead of letting Ashworth just walk away from his contract, they have placed him on gardening leave, while formal talks are set to start with the Magpies who are believed to be asking in excess of £10 million in compensation if United want their man now.

So, what is gardening leave?

Gardening leave happens when an employee is suspended from work on full pay for the duration of a notice period, typically to prevent them from having any further influence on the organisation or from accessing confidential information.

Ashworth’s role at Newcastle gave him access to a huge database of players, the club’s transfer targets, budget and contracts which the Magpies do not wish to have him still in control of as he angles for a move to a rival club.

“Newcastle United can announce that Dan Ashworth has commenced a period of gardening leave,” Newcastle announced via a club statement on Monday.

A message from Darren Earles, the club CEO, also read: “We are naturally disappointed that Dan has chosen to leave, however our exciting journey doesn't stop and the process to recruit a new sporting director will begin immediately.

“We thank Dan for his efforts at Newcastle United and we wish him and his family well for the future.”

According to the Dailymail, the period of gardening leave written into Ashworth’s current contract would take him towards the January transfer window of 2026, meaning the club will have to keep paying him until that time, unless an agreement over a compensation package is reached with United.