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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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2. Mike, a Championship football referee, was officiating in

Customer Question

2. Mike, a Championship football referee, was officiating in a tense local derby between Nottingley County and Nottingley City. During the match Mike disallowed two County goals and refused them three penalty kicks. After the game, which City won 2-0, the County captain, Oliver, shouted loudly at Mike “Oi, Referee. You are a disgrace. That match was a fix. All referees are in on this scam. City wins the league every year because their Chairman is lining your pockets.” The comments were heard by a large section of the crowd, including Pete, a local journalist with the Nottingley Express Newspaper.

Pete decided to investigate the comments and after extensive research the Nottingley Express published the story under the headline: “The Final Whistle: How City really won the League”. The story alleged that Nottingley City matches had been fixed by Mike for many years and that he had taken bribes from the club’s chairman, Quentin. During his investigation Pete attempted to speak to Mike and Quentin but they refused to be interviewed. Alongside the story was a photograph of Mike with two other Premiership referees, Robert and Roger, with the caption “Referees take bribes to fix games”.

After reading the story, Shirley, a keen sports fan used her mobile phone to send a tweet on Twitter that read: “Why are Mike and Quentin trending? *innocent face*”
Since the story was published Mike has not been able to referee due to threats from fans, Quentin has sustained persistent media investigations into his life, and Robert and Roger have suffered significant embarrassment.

Advise Mike, Quentin and Robert and Roger as to any action they could take in the tort of defamation.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.

Is this for an essay? If so, we do not write essay answers I am afraid.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

it is a problem question for practise im unsure how to answer.

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Thank you.

First of all, if the allegations made against Mike and Quentin are true, then they will have no ground for winning a defamation claim as truth is a defence to a defamation claim and so is an honest opinion.

See sections 2 and 3 of the Defamation Act 2013:

Robert and Roger have good grounds to bring a claim as the paper imputes that they also took bribes as their photos are shown alongisde Mike's and the term referees is used meaning all 3 of them took bribes, when there is no evidence that they Rober and Roger were actually involved in taking bribes.

See here for what defamation means:

Can I help further?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

do you mind expanding slightly in the case of mike and quentin?

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
The facts are that Mike disallowed 2 goals and 3 penalty kicks. If there is no good reason why this was the case, then it is arguable that Oliver was justified in making the statement against Mike that he was a disgrace and that the match was fixed.

Especially if Mike has been the referee in the past matches as well and has shown repeated bias against County when playing City.

If Mike has indeed been biased and accepting bribes, then he has no claim against Oliver or the paper or Shirley due to the defences of truth and honest opinion.

If Quentin has indeed been bribing Mike over the years, then he too would not have a claim.

You need to explain that while the statements against all 4 of them are defamatory (and explain the difference between libel and slander) and state why they are defamatory, there are defences available in the Defamation Act 2013 to fight off any defamation claims brought by Mike and Quentin.

Hope this clarifies. Please leave feedback