Agent Sky Andrew wins damages from ex-Watford FC chairman over Observer article

Sports agent Sky Andrew has won libel damages from ex-Watford FC chairman Laurence Bassini over an article that appeared in Newsquest weekly the Watford Observer.

Andrew also won an apology over allegations that he demanded a “substantial sum” to extend England U21 star Marvin Sordell’s contract while he was playing at Watford FC.

The claim relates to an article in the Observer published on 17 February 2012 headlined “How I’ll make it work”, in which then chairman Watford FC Laurence Bassini discussed the circumstances surrounding Sordell’s sale to Bolton Wanderers.

In the article Bassini claimed that a few months before Sordell’s sale “his agent came to see us and said the only way Marvin would sign a contract is if he [the agent] received a substantial sum of money and that was never going to happen.

“Marvin has done nothing wrong in this whatsoever but his agent wanted a fee to facilitate a new contract and he told me he would do what he did with Sol Campbell and let his contract run down, so that was that.”

Andrew issued proceedings against Bassini for making the statements to the paper, which they published in full.

He claimed these allegations implied he was putting his own interests before those of his client and was seeking to elicit a bribe or other unwarranted payment from Watford in order for Sordell to extend his contract.

Andrew contended this would be particularly damaging since seeking an unwarranted payment to facilitate a contract would be a criminal offence under the UK’s strict anti-bribery laws, as well as a breach of the Football Association’s Code of Professional Conduct.

In a statement read out in open court today before Mr Justice Tugendhat, Bassini apologised to Andrew for the allegations and agreed to pay undisclosed damages. He also agreed not to repeat the allegations and pay Andrew’s legal costs.

Andrew said: “This is a very pleasing result and I am delighted that this action has been brought to a successful conclusion.

“Football agents often get a bad name and I have worked hard to ensure that all my dealings are ethical and professional.

“These false allegations could have seriously damaged my reputation.”

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