Liverpool football club chief executive Rick Parry has begun libel proceedings against the publisher of the Daily Mirror.
Parry is seeking libel damages of £100,000 for a story published in March headed: “Kop at War: Why Chief Executive went: Buy Buy Parry.”
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He claimed the story, illustrated by a photograph of him looking forlorn and another of manager Rafa Benitez, was defamatory and damaged his reputation.
Parry said he suffered substantial distress, hurt and embarrassment as a result of the story, and an identical story on the paper’s website headed: “The Real Reason Why Liverpool Sacked Rick Parry (And it has nothing to do with Rafa).”
According to the high court writ, the story claimed he had spent a month conducting surreptitious negotiations with a mystery Arab group to buy out Liverpool’s current owners.
Parry said the story also claimed he had acted disloyally and in breach of duty of good faith to his employers, and that as a result he had no option but to quit his role at the club, despite having been chief executive for 12 years.
He claimed in his writ that the paper failed to check the allegations with him first or to give him a chance to respond, and if it had done so, would have discovered that the allegations were completely untrue.
He has accused the Mirror of choosing to publish its claims in a highly sensational manner, promoting its story as an exclusive, falsely claiming to reveal the real reason why he was leaving the club.
Parry said that although his solicitors had written to complain, the Mirror had failed to apologise or mitigate the damage caused to him.
He said he feared that unless the high court grants an injunction against the paper, it may repeat its allegations, and he is seeking damages and an injunction preventing repetition of the claims.