Resolution Statement – 09380-19 Clattenburg v dailystar.co.uk
Summary of Complaint
1. Mark Clattenburg complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that dailystar.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Referee Mark Clattenburg called time on lover as her brother died of cancer”, published on 7 December 2019.
2. The article comprised an interview with a woman who made a series of claims regarding a relationship she had with the complainant.
3. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate. He said that he had not met with the woman on a monthly basis as claimed, or broken up with her at the time her brother was dying of cancer. He also said that that he did not make a donation to her brother's charity as reported and disputed the article’s claim that a friend of his wife started a rumour about her. He also said that the article had alleged that he blackmailed the woman, who had rented one of his properties, by threatening to take her to court if she didn't adhere to the tenancy agreement, when this was not the case. The complainant also said that the article inaccurately reported that he had wished the woman happy birthday and sent her a message saying "you win". The article also reported that he was sacked from his position at the Saudi Arabian football federation as a result of the relationship, which he said was inaccurate as he had in fact served his contract and declined an extension. The complainant said he was not offered an opportunity to respond to the woman’s allegations prior to the article’s publication.
4. The complainant said that the article reported information concerning his family and private life, and as such, it was intrusive.
5. The publication denied any breach of the Code. It emphasised that it had taken care over the accuracy of the article as it had contacted an individual who claimed to represent the complainant several times for comment prior to publication but never received a response on the woman’s allegations. Nonetheless, on receiving the complainant’s position, the publication removed the article as a gesture of goodwill.
Relevant Code Provisions
6. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.
iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
7. Clause 2 (Privacy)
i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.
ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent. In considering an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy, account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information and the extent to which the material complained about is already in the public domain or will become so.
iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
8. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
9. During IPSO’s investigation, the publication offered to publish the following statement setting out the complainant’s position:
For the record - Mark Clattenburg
On Saturday 7th December 2019, we published an article headlined "Referee Mark Clattenburg called time on lover as her brother died of cancer". Although attempt was made for Mr Clattenberg's comment, he has now asked us to make clear that he denies that he met the woman for "monthly romps" as reported; that he broke up with her at the time her brother was dying of cancer; that he wished Andrea Happy Birthday, that he made a donation to her brother's charity; or that a friend of his wife started a rumour about her. Mr Clattenburg also denies that he "blackmailed" the woman by threatening to take her to court if she didn't adhere to the tenancy agreement, and that he sent her a message saying "you win". Furthermore, Mr Clattenburg denies that he was sacked from his position at the Saudi Arabian football federation as a result of the relationship - in fact, he served his contract in full and declined to extend it. We are happy to make his position clear.
10. The complainant said that he was content to resolve the matter on this basis.
11. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.
Date complaint received: 07/12/19
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 29/04/2020
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