Football boss Gordon Taylor kicks off Mail libel claim

Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has launched a claim for libel damages over two stories published in the Daily Mail.

Taylor is demanding damages of £100,000 from publisher Associated Newspapers over a story published on 13 March under the headline: “Maguire’s exit rocks the players’ union” and a second piece by columnist Charles Sale.

In his high court claim, he accuses the Daily Mail of publishing gratuitously offensive attacks on him and of failing to apologise.

Taylor, the long standing PFA chief executive, said the story claimed he had acted petulantly and unreasonably by wrongly rebuking his deputy Mick McGuire in public over the petty matter of a lawyer’s bill.

He said the story also claimed that his misbehaviour was so serious that it caused McGuire’s decision to quit his job despite many years of loyal service.

In the writ, Taylor said the second piece, published four days later on 17 March, accused him of reneging on a promise he had made behind the scenes to McGuire that he would step down as chief executive and hand the top job to him.

Taylor said the two stories had caused substantial damage to his reputation, as well as considerable distress and embarrassment.

He is seeking an injunction banning repetition of the allegations about him, and aggravated damages, saying the claims were serious and damaging, striking at the heart of his professional and personal reputation.

His high court claim said the utterly false suggestion that he had simply agreed to hand over the post of chief executive, circumventing the democratic process, seriously undermined his integrity and credibility as association head.

Taylor argued that this was reinforced by an offensive reference to the association being run by Taylor as his private fiefdom.

According to the writ, he contends that the Daily Mail chose to publish the claims in an unnecessarily rude and inflammatory manner, despite warnings given by a colleague before publication.

He said this was especially upsetting as it followed several previous attacks in the Charles Sale column for which Associated Newspapers had apologised and paid damages and legal costs.

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