Football union bosses to fight NoW in court

Football bosses Mick McGuire and Phil Sproson have kicked off a legal battle over a story in the News of the World about tapping-up allegations.

The two men, executives at the Professional Footballers Association, claim a 6 August story headed "Accused. Did Union Help Chelsea Poach Kids From Elland Road?", was defamatory.

Now they are demanding damages of £100,000 and an injunction banning the repetition of the allegations, from publishers News Group Newspapers.

The story suggested they had been culpably involved in the tapping-up of three young Leeds United footballers, by deliberately helping Chelsea in its illegal conduct, they say.

The allegations caused considerable damage to their personal and professional reputations, they say, and caused them considerable hurt, distress and embarrassment.

The pair also want aggravated damages, saying the story was deeply offensive since it implied they had breached the trust placed in them by the players' parents.

And they claim that despite the seriousness of the allegation, and a letter of complaint, News Group has failed to apologise or retract the allegation, or to mitigate the alleged damage to their reputations.

News Group has further aggravated the damage by dismissing the story as not even being defamatory, the writ claims. The writ was issued by solicitors George Davis.

Last year, The Sun and the NoW paid around £100,000 in damages to Premiership footballer Ashley Cole after falsely suggesting that he had been involved in a "gay orgy".

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