Thursday, March 16, 2006

Grovelling apologies in time for kick-off

With the World Cup looming and The Sun wondering how it is going to get access to the England team, a grovelling apology (plus large cheque, of course) looks likely to be winging its way to Arsenal and England star Ashley Cole after The Daily Star started the ball rolling yesterday.

It's somehow nice to see that it works both ways. That chequebooks first pay for stories…and then pay again when things go wrong.

The Daily Star, which also ran with the story, admitted yesterday that it got it wrong last month when it named him as one of three men allegedly involved in a gay sex orgy.

"The Daily Star entirely accepts that Ashley Cole was not involved in any way in this kind of conduct. The stories about him were entirely without foundation. We sincerely apologise to Ashley for the distress which he suffered," The Star wrote.

News International has already paid out to the Beckhams over its News of the World story and looks like the chequebook will be coming out again for Cole. He's about to tie the knot with Girl's Aloud bruiser Cheryl Tweedy, so a hefty pile of cash can only be welcomed. These OK! celeb weddings do not come cheap.

The Sun, of course, didn't name him, but it might as well have because it printed a doctored picture of him alongside a Choice FM DJ, the real version of which was then uncovered by gay news website PinkNews. Oh how News International must love those guys at Pink for exposing their conceit.

Love them so much in fact that News International's lawyers are warning PinkNews.co.uk that they could find themselves being sued. That seems harsh. All they did was expose the News of the World and the Sun and lay them open to a libel case from Cole's lawyers.

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