Francis Benali’s civil action against Southampton Football Club has been settled out of court.

The former left-back had brought a claim against the club relating to the lease of his Chilworth house.

The case was due to begin next week, but it is understood the club have today reached a settlement with Mr Benali.

Saints had rented the £1.8m five-bedroom home for a period of nine months, from October 2009 until July 2010, so that executive chairman Nicola Cortese and his family could live there.

Mr Benali and his wife, Karen, who was also listed as a claimant, alleged that the club had breached the lease agreement by failing to make certain payments and by not maintaining the property to an adequate standard.

The hearing was due to start next Monday, but a settlement was today agreed meaning that the case will not be dragged through the courts.