The Daily Mail is set to publicly apologise to Italian footballer Marco Materazzi in the High Court and pay him “substantial” damages for a series of articles claiming he racially abused an opponent in the 2006 World Cup Final.
The Daily Mail reported that Materazzi used racist abuse during the World Cup Final between Italy and France in July 2006, including calling the mother of his opponent Zinedine Zidane ‘a terrorist whore”, which they claimed provoked Zidane – who has Algerian parents – into losing his temper and causing him to headbutt Materazzi.
A five-day trial was set commence in the High Court last Monday, but according to Materazzi’s lawyers the Mail decided to settle a few days before the trial was due to start. Instead lawyers from the Mail are due to make a statement in open court on Monday and publish an apology in the newspaper the following day.
Materazzi’s lawyer, Steven Heffer of Collyer Bristow LLP, said: “The Daily Mail now accepts that the allegations are wholly untrue and there is no question of Marco Materazzi having said anything of a racist nature to Zidane. The Daily Mail will also be paying my client substantial damages and his legal costs.”
Both The Sun and The Daily Star have also apologised for similar claims – The Daily Star in April and The Sun in June.
The apology in The Sun withdrew the allegations and also its claim that ‘Materazzi was a hypocritical liar when he denied it and was rightly condemned for what he said”.
Zidane was sent off after headbutting the Italian footballer and France went on to lose the match.