Frank Lampard Complains to PCC

Chelsea football player Frank Lampard complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) concerning an article entitled ‘My secret sex games with Lampard and 4 other stars’ which was published in the News of the World on 03 October 2004. Lampard made a complaint contrary to Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code of Practice and also under Clause 2 as the newspaper had failed to give Lampard an opportunity to reply.

The article reported that Jodie Marsh, a famous glamour model, had a ‘secret fling’ with Lampard and other footballers. The article also suggested that the model kept explicit photos of her ‘encounters’ as evidence to support the allegations.

Lampard denied these claims and denied that he had ever had a sexual relationship with the model.

The newspaper provided the Commission with a signed witness statement from the Model stating that her relationship with Lampard was sexual and had occurred on two occasions when they were teenagers. Apparently the statement also stated that both the footballer and the model did everything except sexual intercourse. Another witness statement was from an individual to whom the model had confided about the sexual encounters.

Lampard pointed out the fact that the article in question suggested they both had sexual intercourse and that the Model owned various photographs of the activity, whilst the model has expressly stated in her witness statement that sexual intercourse never took place and did not own any photographs. Subsequently the article was inaccurate. The matter was further aggravated by the fact that the newspaper failed to contact Lampard’s representatives for a reply.

The newspaper attempted to resolve the matter by offering to publish a clarification pointing out that the sexual activity was a ‘steamy encounter’ which stopped short of sexual intercourse. This was later amended to include the point that Lampard denied any sexual encounter whatsoever with the model.

Lampard’s solicitor refused to accept the statement and provided the newspaper with a more suitable statement to clarify the position. The newspaper refused to publish this statement.

The PCC rejected Lampard’s complaint.

The PCC pointed out that there was clearly a dispute between both parties as to whether Lampard and the model had a sexual encounter. The newspaper had provided a statement from the model that she had a sexual encounter with the footballer, whilst Lampard refused to accept that he had any sexual encounter with the model whatsoever. The PCC refused to resolve this matter as it was beyond its power.

The PCC commented:

“In these circumstances, the Commission’s normal approach is to encourage the publication concerned to publish the complainant’s position on the matter.”

The PCC was satisfied that the newspaper’s attempt to clarify the position was satisfactory as it made Lampard’s position clear to any reader who understood from the article that both of the individuals had sexual intercourse.

Further, the newspaper had satisfactorily corrected the position concerning ownership of the photographs. The Commission found that the clarification was a sufficient remedy to satisfy any wrongdoing by the newspaper under Clause 1 of the Code of Practice.

Subsequently as the newspaper gave Ferdinand the opportunity to reply there was no breach of Clause 2.

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