Martin O’Neill wins libel damages from the BBC

Book allegations withdrawn

Celtic Manager, Martin O’Neill, has received an apology and substantial damages from the BBC over allegations made in a book published by BBC Worldwide Limited, “Football Confidential 2”.

The book had examined Mr O’Neill’s shareholding in the Proactive Sports Group, a football agent, and Mr O’Neill’s reaction to approaches by the BBC concerning the issue of his shareholding.

In a hearing at the High Court today, the BBC accepted that Mr O’Neill did not buy or sell players who were represented by Proactive whilst he was a shareholder in that company. BBC Worldwide and Mr McIlroy also accepted that Mr O’Neill behaved reasonably in contacting his lawyers to ensure the accuracy of what was broadcast.

BBC Worldwide and the BBC also withdrew and apologised for an allegation made in a press release promoting the book which suggested that Mr O’Neill had “exploited the loose disciplines of football”, accepting the allegation was untrue.

Mark Warby QC and Jacob Dean acted for Mr O’Neill and Alex Marzec acted for the BBC.