Norwich City to take legal action over News of the World report
Norwich City have issued a statement from chief executive David McNally in response to a story in the News of the World on Sunday, 24 January claiming the club could go into administration by Thursday.
Norwich City have issued the following statement from chief executive David McNally in response to a story in the News of the World on Sunday, 24 January claiming the club could go into administration by Thursday and has called in financial experts Ernst Young and KPMG as potential administrators:
"The story in the News of the World is completely untrue. As far as the club is concerned we consider the story is defamatory and accordingly we have placed the matter in the hands of our solicitors, and will be pursuing for damages."
Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett told the club's official website: "In all my years in working in corporate finance I have never read such tosh and complete fabrication. The News of the World will be hearing from our lawyers and we look forward to claiming substantial damages."
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The following letter has been sent by Norwich City's legal representatives to News Group Newspapers Limited, the publishers of the News of the World:
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RE: Our Client: NORWICH CITY FOOTBALL CLUB PLC
We act for Norwich City Football Club Plc. Kindly note our interest and please ensure you address any response to this letter directly to this firm quoting the above reference.
We write in respect of the article published in today's "News of the World" on page 96 under the title "Canaries on brink" ("the Article"), which states the following:
"NORWICH CITY are the latest club teetering on the brink of financial meltdown. The League One high-flyers could go into administration by Thursday if they cannot find major new investors. Financial experts Ernst Young and KPMG have both been called in as potential administrators. The moves come despite a season in which Paul Lambert has led the club to the summit of the promotion race for a return to the Championship. Carrow Road crowds have averaged around 25,000 as Lambert's side impress but the club's 2009 accounts showed a �5million loss. Delia Smith is unlikely to invest any more money after putting about �8m into the club over the past 13 years. Norwich now desperately need new investment to stave off administration."
We further note that the Article was simultaneously published in the online version of the News of the World at www.notw.co.uk and www.newsoftheworld.co.uk where it remains accessible to the world at large.
The title of the article is "CANARIES ON BRINK OF ADMINISTRATION……Norwich facing financial meltdown". The article purports to be written by one Martin Hardy and to be an "Exclusive".
The remarks in the Article (in so far as they are factual) are untrue and (in so far as they purport to be comment) are without any foundation. They are also defamatory. Specifically:
t Our client is not on the brink of administration
t Our client is not teetering on the brink of financial meltdown
t Our client will not go into administration by Thursday 28 January 2010 (or any other date) if they cannot find major (or any) new investors
t Neither Ernst Young or KPMG nor any other person or firm has been "called in" as a potential administrator; and
t Our client does not desperately need new investment to stave off administration.
Our client's financial position is a matter of public record. In common with many other football clubs, our client made a loss last year but for the avoidance of doubt the club's immediate financial position has been discussed fully with its lenders and is secure. There is no deadline of Thursday 28 January 2010. There is no deadline at all. There are no plans or proposals that the club should go into administration and no one has been called in or consulted as a potential administrator. Our client has had no dealings in recent times with either Ernst Young or KPMG.
The Article is entirely without foundation. No attempt was made to contact our client and it seems clear that you thought you could simply publish whatever you thought would serve your own purposes without concern for either truth, accuracy, our client's reputation or the financial consequences that your defamatory publication would have. The Article is totally and unarguably misleading. It has been published to enormous numbers of people (and has today been the subject of discussion on national radio) and has the potential to cause our client severe financial loss since it is published in the last week of the transfer window and two days after our client launched its season ticket sales programme for the 2010/11 season.
In the circumstances, our client requires the following:
1. A full apology in wording to be agreed, to be published in at least as prominent a position in the next edition of the "News of the World" and on the NOTW website; in the same quantity as the offending Article.
2. Payment of a substantial sum in damages
3. Payment of all legal costs incurred to date
4. An undertaking not to republish the article or repeat its allegations.
Should you fail to satisfy these requirements our client will commence an action for defamation. We expect the immediate withdrawal of the Article from your websites and your full response within 7 days.