Sale were justified in signing Denny Solomona from Castleford, but the cross-code legal saga could happen again, says Sharks boss Steve Diamond.
Cas ended their action against their former winger, his agent and Sale earlier this month after accepting a settlement
Solomona, 23, ‘retired’ from rugby league to in December 2016 and scored 11 tries in 15 outings.
It led to him winning his first England cap on the tour to Argentina.
Sharks made an initial offer of £150,000 rising to £200,000 for Solomona, it is understood, but that was later withdrawn and replaced with one of only £50,000, an amount Tigers chief executive Steve Gill called “an insult”.
“The fact of the matter is that prematurely, in a hail of publicity, Castleford went legal,” Sharks director of rugby Diamond told BBC Sport.
“The settlement proves, that in this case, the facts were we were right from day one in offering the right amount of money which was more than three other clubs were offering.
“The law hasn’t been settled in this case whatsoever and if that is what rugby league and Castleford are attempting to do then they’ve failed in that.
“There has been no precedent set here. From day one it was never a case of rugby union against rugby league, it was a case of an unhappy player who wanted to play rugby union and we went through the proper channels from day one.”
He continued: “We’ve done absolutely nothing wrong. Our reputation is absolutely intact and enhanced by the fact that Denny has joined us, done the job he has been asked to do and he’s been picked for England.
“Why do you think settlement was made last week at pretty much the figure we offered 10 or 11 months ago? Everybody has moved away, taken the emotion out of it, common sense has prevailed and seen that’s a good deal.”
‘It could happen again’
Current Super League leaders Castleford for Solomona as he was contracted to them until 2018.
And although the figure awarded was far lower, the Tigers received an additional £100,000 for their costs.
“I can’t say common sense has prevailed because I think there is a chance it could happen again,” Gill told BBC Radio Leeds.
“They paid a price but that doesn’t stop them from doing it again and somewhere along the line someone might have to fight the battle we’ve had to fight. I think there needs to be a bigger, more robust action from higher to help clubs that find themselves in this position.
“We felt like they were trying to bully us from day one and we were adamant that we were not going to let it happen. We said all along that we are not a selling club.
“Would they have taken on a Leeds Rhinos or a Wigan? There is evidence that they wanted a top Super League winger and one of them was with Leeds and one was with Castleford and they thought ‘let’s go for the Castleford one because he will be cheaper.’
“They know what they did was wrong – I don’t dislike them but they have to live with what they have done.
“If they can sleep at night and get up in the morning and feel what they did was right then that is up to them, but I know what we did was right and felt we held the forefront of the dignity of rugby league.”
‘Sale did not move’
Sale co-owner Simon Orange was heavily involved in the case and was unhappy with the way the clubs ended up conducting their business.
Solomona broke Lesley Vainikolo’s record for the most tries in a Super League season in 2016 when he crossed 40 times before his move to the Premiership outfit.
“The relationship between Denny and Castleford had clearly broken down,” he told BBC Radio Manchester.
“I’m sure there are two sides to every story, but he wanted to leave and we wanted to take advantage of that fact – as did a number of other Premiership clubs.
“Regarding the settlement we’ve not moved from day one – we were prepared to settle for £200,000 as that’s what we valued it at and it’s come in at £205,000.
“We thought Castleford would act professionally and in a business like way and the truth is I think we were wrong in that assessment.”