Sky Sports NZ commentator Jason Pine has revealed that a clause in Mark Rudan’s Wellington Phoenix contract – inserted at the behest of the club – has come back to burn the ‘Nix and enable Rudan’s early departure. 

While Rudan signed a two-year contract with the Phoenix in May 2018, this clause reportedly allows for termination at nine weeks’ notice, meaning Wellington are unlikely to receive any compensation should Rudan – as the rumours suggest – become the inaugural manager of expansion outfit Western United.

“It’s my understanding that the club were the ones who were keen on putting that clause in,” Pine told Evenings on FNR. 

“We all know they got burnt by Darije Kalezic last year. He really decimated the playing group and set the club back quite some distance.

“I think maybe club were a little bit cautious in recruiting an untried A-League coach. It’s my understanding they were the ones who put that clause in.

“It’s now, in many ways, come back to burn them a little bit in that it’s actually, by the sounds of things, been Mark Rudan who’s exercised that clause and left the club.” 

Pine was keen to point out, however, that Rudan’s departure was motivated by his family situation.

“I spoke to David Dome on the radio here in New Zealand yesterday, and he basically said: ‘Look, there’s no point us trying to keep somebody at the club – a player, a coach, or anybody, who doesn’t want to be here.’

“It’s not that Mark Rudan hates it in Wellington – he’s become very fond of the place. He’s grown emotionally very attached to his players, to the club, to the staff, to the fans.

“He’s here without his family. His family are in Australia and from what I managed to gather a move to Wellington was just not something that could be made to happen.

“And while they’re in Sydney and there’s all that talk about him ending up in Melbourne, again my understanding is that a move from Sydney to Melbourne was a lot more palatable than a move from Sydney to Wellington was ever going to be.

“The contract situation – it seems to me that in football that if you want to get out of something, you probably can get out of it. The clause just made it easier for this all to come about.” 

Josh Parish