England footballer Wayne Rooney is to sue the Sun newspaper for libel, it was announced yesterday.
The press has written extensively about Mr Rooney's private life in recent days after the News of the World and Mirror published claims that he had sex with a prostitute called Jennifer Thompson while his wife Coleen was pregnant.
The libel action relates to a different story, however, which appeared in the Sun in late June.
Under the headlines "Roo hols booked ahead of washout" and "Wish you were here", the Sun suggested that two days before England played Germany in the second round of the World Cup Mr Rooney figured England would be knocked out and booked an expensive holiday to Barbados for the final 12 days of the tournament.
His legal advisers say this is untrue and claim the stories 'depict a shameful lack of professionalism and commitment to England's cause on his part, alongside disdain for supporters, as they say he was planning for England losing the match and that he would be free to go on holiday'.
They also claim that before the Sun printed the story his PR agent Ian Monk notified the paper that provisional arrangements had been made for him to go on holiday on various dates, as and when he became available, but that no firm booking was made until June 29, two days after England were knocked out.
To remedy the harm to his 'personal and professional reputation' and compensate him for 'considerable distress, aggravation and embarrassment'. Mr Rooney's legal team are seeking an injunction to bar repetition of the claims and aggravated damages.
Sex with Jennifer Thompson
The Telegraph reports that Mr Rooney considered applying for an injunction on privacy grounds to prevent publication of the more recent allegations concerning Jennifer Thompson. The paper says he was advised against filing an application, however, since he has previously spoken publicly about his shame at sleeping with prostitutes.
- Three England players win injunctions on reports into their private lives (The Solicitor)
- Wayne Rooney sues Sun over World Cup holiday story (Press Gazette)
- Wayne Rooney's private life and the public interest (Inforrm's Blog)
- Wayne Rooney 'slept with prostitute while wife Coleen was pregnant' (Telegraph)
- Rooney, Coulson and Hague scandals reveal the need for more, not less, press protection (UK Human Rights Blog)
- The Sex Lives of Footballers (Jack of Kent / David Allen Green blog)
- Libel (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Right to privacy (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Legal Q&A (Community)
- Find solicitors (Contact Law)