Brighton & Hove Albion have sacked three members of their ground staff for allegedly leaking team information on social media.
The Seagulls had become alarmed at how information, including starting line-ups, was being made public throughout the 2018-19 Premier League season.
The club launched a three-month investigation into the leaks which was said to include the confiscating of mobile phones and regular surprise interviews.
They concluded that three members of staff deserved to be dismissed.
Sportsmail has seen a letter sent from Brighton’s HR department to one of those sacked on June 7. It details how ‘the club is terminating your employment without notice in light of the fact that the club, as explained, has lost all trust and confidence in you’.
Brighton finished 17th in the table, just two points above the bottom three, and manager Chris Hughton was sacked for the side’s poor form in 2019. Graham Potter has since taken charge.
The club’s ground staff are represented by GMB Union, who have labelled the investigation ‘intrusive’ and a ‘witch hunt’.
In a statement, they said: ‘GMB represent the club’s ground staff team and has accused the Premier League club of failing to follow any due employment processes or even a club investigatory and disciplinary process to wrongfully dismiss staff without a hearing or right to appeal.
‘The sackings came after prolonged and intrusive investigations of all the ground staff working at the club’s Lancing training facility.
‘The investigation included the seizure of some mobile phones from staff to check and download content and usage, along with regular surprise interviews, all of which have been unable to provide any links about team selection leaks, to the members of staff wrongfully dismissed.’
GMB branch secretary Mark Turner added: ‘The club may have retained Premier League status this year but it seems that it provides its hard-working staff Sunday League employment rights.
‘This just stinks and considering this club prides itself on its commitment to the standards, values and expectations set by the Premier League, along with professing to believe all forms of prejudice and discrimination are unacceptable, the way they have treated their staffs throughout this witch hunt is simply deplorable and unfair.
‘We will of course seek legal advice but we call upon BHAFC to correct this unfair dismissal and reinstate our members and their staff immediately.’
The club did not wish to comment on Tuesday.