The name’s Bond, Kevin Bond

Source:  Kevin Bond v. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [2009] EWHC 539 (QB) (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2009/539.html)

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/allardyce-set-for-legal-battle-over-bbcs-bung-claims-416836.html; http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2007/may/16/newsstory.sport18  ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/2346671/Newcastle-sack-Bond-over-bungs-claims.html

 

The case concerned allegations made in a BBC Panorama programme entitled “Football’s Dirty Secrets” broadcast on 19th September 2006, and in particular the suggestions from covert recordings that the claimant (assistant to the then manager of Portsmouth FC – Harry Redknapp) was willing to entertain discussing the acceptance of an improper payment (bung) from a football agency (note the very careful and tentative language of the Defence that falls short of proving any guilty practice had taken place but rather implies that there is reason to suspect that it had).

 

Although the claimant was only mentioned directly for a few minutes at the end of the programme, the court accepted that the programme as a whole needed to be taken into account to identify the meaning [18]. Given that the whole programme suggested that bungs and corruption was rife in football, the court also held that it was reasonable for a viewer to come to the conclusion that the claimant was being held up as an example of a suspicious participant by his very inclusion in the programme [17].

 

The court did not discuss whether these charges were made out, simply that the programme made them. Instead if the parties fail to reach any agreement, this will be the issue for a full defamation trial. Watch this space……

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About Kris

Associate Professor in Sports Law, Staffordshire University; British Gymnastics Senior Coach

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