Wayne Rooney has launched a libel action against The Sun over two stories suggesting he confirmed a holiday booking after figuring that England would be knocked out of the World Cup.
The England footballer, through lawyers Schillings, is suing publisher News Group Newspapers claiming the stories headed: ‘Roo hols booked ahead of washout’and ‘Wish you were here”, published in June and July respectively, are defamatory.
According to a writ filed at the High Court, the stories suggest that two days before he was due to play in England’s crucial second out World Cup match against Germany, Rooney had already confirmed his holiday booking.
Rooney claims 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.
These allegations, Rooney says, are false. He suggests that he had not made a firm booking to go on holiday before England’s match against Germany.
The writ claims that The Sun knew this before publishing the first story as his PR agent Ian Monk had told two staff members provisional arrangements had been made for him to go on holiday on various dates, as and when he became available.
However, no firm booking was made until June 29, two days after England’s exit, the writ adds.
The stories damaged his personal and professional reputation, and caused him considerable distress, aggravated and embarrassment, Rooney argues in the writ.
As such he is seeking an injunction banning repetition of the claims and aggravated damages, saying the false allegations go to the heart of his reputation and self esteem as a professional footballer.
In addition, Rooney complained that the second story was accompanied by two large pictures of his eight-month-old son Kai despite the paper knowing he and his wife strongly objected to publication of his picture.
Rooney complains that pictures of his son are an unwarranted and unjustified interference with their son’s and their own legal right to respect for their private and family life.