The Mail on Sunday has apologised to Chelsea Football Club and its head of communications, Steve Atkins, after publishing a story suggesting they attempted to silence claims involving Ashley Cole.
The club and its employee launched a legal action against the Associated Newspapers‘ title after it published a front page story headed “Chelsea helped Cole to silence claims of affair” in February.
According to a claim form filed at the High Court earlier this year, the story suggested they helped persuade Ann Corbitt to lie to the press by denying she had slept with Cole.
The MoS published its apology on page seven of yesterday’s paper and online.
The apology, brokered by lawyers Harbottle & Lewis, stated: “Our story of February 21 ‘Chelsea helped Cole to silence claims of affair’, may have suggested that Chelsea FC and Steve Atkins, head of communications, encouraged a woman to lie by denying, falsely, that she had slept with a player.
“In fact, there was no encouragement to lie and any advice was given to the woman in good faith on the understanding that the allegations were untrue.
“We apologise to Mr Atkins and Chelsea for any contrary impression given.”