Roberto Carlos settles “banned performance enhancing drugs” libel case

Associated Newspapers Ltd apologises after making Offer of Amends

Roberto Carlos, the internationally renowned retired Brazilian footballer has settled his libel action against Associated Newspapers Ltd, publisher of the Mail of Sunday and Mail Online.

A statement in open court was read this morning before Mr Justice Warby. Mr Carlos began playing for the Brazilian national team in 1992 and went on to accumulate 125 caps for his country. He played in three World Cups for Brazil, including 2002 when Brazil was the winning team. He currently works as an international director of Real Madrid.

In June 2017 Associated Newspapers published an article “Brazil legend Roberto Carlos in drugs storm” in the Mail on Sunday. A similar version of the article was published on Mail Online. The article referred to a television documentary and said that Mr Carlos had been dragged into a doping controversy. The article attributed to the documentary the allegation that Mr Carlos had been named as one of two Brazilian international footballers alleged to have taken banned performance-enhancing drugs around the 2002 World Cup. The article also alleged that Mr Carlos had declined to make any comment on this serious allegation.

Following service of the claim, Associated Newspapers made an unqualified offer of amends pursuant to s2 Defamation Act 1996 in relation to the defamatory meaning that Mr Carlos had used banned performance enhancing drugs during his distinguished football career, including in 2002 around the time when he won the World Cup as part of the Brazilian national team. Mr Carlos accepted the offer.

In addition to accepting that the allegation was untrue, and apologising, Associated Newspapers agreed to pay substantial compensation to Mr Carlos along with costs.

5RB’s Adrienne Page QC and Victoria Jolliffe (instructed by  Brandsmiths) acted for Mr Carlos.