Leeds United football club chairman Ken Bates is demanding libel damages of up to £250,000 from The Mail on Sunday.
He claims that a story headed "Foul Play" in MoS Live magazine in February was defamatory. Bates is also seeking an injunction banning the repetition of the allegations at the centre of his claim, or any similar allegations.
The writ was issued by libel specialists Carter Ruck.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Bates as the chairman of Chelsea Football Club, the position he previously held. Bruce Buck is the current chairman of Chelsea.