Former Premier League and Wales footballer Craig Bellamy has lost a complaint against the Daily Mail over an article about him leaving his role as a coach for Cardiff City FC’s youth academy.
Bellamy complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that an article headlined “Bellamy Out”, published in the newspaper on 15 May, breached editorial guidelines on accuracy and privacy.
The story also appeared on Mail Online under the headline: “Craig Bellamy OUT: Cardiff City youth role is over after bullying inquiry as parents of players welcome decision,” published the night before.
The article reported that Bellamy would lose his position as under-18s head coach “after an investigation into bullying claims against him”.
Bellamy said the article was inaccurate because while he had left the club, he had not been dismissed as a result of the investigation but had stood aside while it went ahead with his cooperation.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool forward also claimed he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to the investigation.
The Mail denied breaching the Editors’ Code of Practice. It said it was “clear for readers that the investigation was ongoing” and that Bellamy would not return to his role regardless of the outcome of the probe.
It also said the report was, in any case, in the public interest as it “concerned serious allegations of wrongdoing made against the complainant by the families of young people under his professional care and referenced the wider emerging problem in football regarding systemic failure to safeguard young aspiring footballers”.
IPSO’s Complaints Committee said: “When read in isolation, the headline of the article could have been understood to mean that the investigation had concluded and a decision taken to remove the complainant.
“However, the body of the article clarified that the complainant would lose his position but did not report that the complainant had lost his position as a result of the investigation.
“The article made clear that the investigation was ongoing by virtue of reporting that the club was yet to return its findings.
“In these circumstances, it was not significantly misleading to report that the complainant was ‘out’, or that he would lose his position after the bullying probe.”
The committee said that while a workplace investigation “may attract a reasonable expectation of privacy” the article “did not reveal any specific details about the investigation itself and did not reveal any information about which the complainant had a reasonable expectation of privacy”.
The complaint was not upheld.
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