Chelsea boss Roman Abramovitch has kicked off a £200,000 legal battle for libel damages with The Sun.
Abramovitch is demanding damages over a page three story headed ‘Rom: I ate Jose! Jibe by Chelsea boss’which was published on September 27. The story was accompanied by a photograph of him at table in front of a plate of food, holding a steak knife and fork, apparently about to eat the head of Jose Mourinho superimposed on the plate.
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Abramovitch says the story meant that he had behaved unprofessionally and in an unbusinesslike manner, by using one of his rare public appearances to attack his club’s former manager Jose Mourinho, referring to him in insulting and contemptuous terms, and indicating that his contribution to the club was transient and unimportant.
He claims that by innuendo the words meant he was a hypocrite and backstabber, as only a week earlier he had publicly subscribed to a statement praising Mourinho as the club’s most respected and successful manager.
Abramovitch says the story has substantially damaged his reputation and caused him considerable distress and embarrassment.
He is also seeking aggravated damages, saying publishers News Group Newspapers published the story without checking it with him or allowing his representatives to comment on it first.
Abramovitch says the photograph had been doctored in an extremely eye catching but repugnant way.
He denies speaking the words attributed to him, and says that the publishers have failed to apologise to him or publish a retraction, and failed to remove the article from their website until October 9. He is also seeking an injunction banning repetition of the allegations at the centre of his claim.