Football: Ferdinand loses privacy case

29th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Manchester United defender and former England captain Rio Ferdinand on Thursday lost his High Court privacy action over a "kiss and tell" story in the Sunday Mirror newspaper.

Ferdinand was seeking 50,000 pounds (57,500 euros, $78,500) in damages from the tabloid's owner over the piece, headlined "My affair with England captain Rio", in which Carly Storey gave her account of their alleged relationship.

The player, who has three children with wife Rebecca, said the article was a "gross invasion of my privacy", and said he had not seen Storey for six years by the time the article was published.

The case hinged on whether the newspaper was justified in publishing its story because the right to freedom of expression outweighed Ferdinand's right to privacy under human rights legislation.

Dismissing Ferdinand's claim, Justice Nicol said: "Overall, in my judgement, the balancing exercise favours the defendant's right of freedom of expression over the claimant's right of privacy."

Mirror Group Newspapers had argued it was in the public interest to run the story about Ferdinand, who replaced John Terry as England captain before Terry was reinstated by manager Fabio Capello this year.

Its lawyer, Gavin Millar, said Ferdinand was appointed England captain on the basis of being a reformed character and being responsible.

Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver said in a statement: "The Sunday Mirror is very pleased that the court has rejected Rio Ferdinand's privacy claim.

"The judge found that there was a justified public interest in reporting the off-pitch behaviour of the then England captain and discussion of his suitability for such an important and ambassadorial role representing the country.

"We are pleased the judge ruled that Mr Ferdinand had perpetuated a misleading public image and the Sunday Mirror was entitled to correct this impression."

Ferdinand was not in court for the judgement.

© 2011 AFP

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