Grobbelaar wins libel action against `Sun'

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The Independent Online
THE FORMER Liverpool footballer Bruce Grobbelaar was yesterday awarded pounds 85,000 libel damages against the Sun, over allegations that he had taken bribes to throw matches.

The Zimbabwe international goalkeeper declared that he had finally " nailed the lie" that he was corrupt and involved in match-fixing, and announced that he intended to return to football in the near future.

As well as the sum of damages, Mr Grobbelaar, 41, will have his estimated pounds 400,000 legal costs paid by the Sun, which will also have to foot its own pounds 500,000 bill. The newspaper said immediately after the High Court hearing that it intended to appeal.

This was the third time there had been legal action over the extraordinary allegations, which threw English football into turmoil when they first appeared five years ago. Mr Grobbelaar, fellow footballers John Fashanu and Hans Segers, both formerly of Wimbledon, and a Malaysian businessman, Richard Lim, had faced criminal charges of conspiracy at two trials at Winchester in l997. The first trial ended in deadlock and the four were cleared at the second.

After the unanimous verdict yesterday, Mr Grobbelaar stood on the steps of the High Court in London with his wife Debbie, 44, and claimed that one of his main aims had been to restore the tarnished image of English football. He said: "It is a day that we can all relish."

"Football is the game I love and I shall be getting back into football very shortly. It was not the money I was after, I was just trying to clear my name in football and that I have done today."

The Sun's allegations had been based on information supplied by a former associate of Mr Grobbelaar, Chris Vincent, and a secret videotape. The Sun, which pleaded justification and qualified privilege, had alleged that Mr Grobbelaar took pounds 40,000 to make sure Liverpool lost 3-0 away to Newcastle in November 1993.

It also said he had blown his chance of pounds 125,000 more in a January 1994 game against Manchester United, which ended in a 3-3 draw, by accidentally making a sensational save in a match he was trying to lose.

Nailing the lie, page 6

BSkyB deals `legal', page 6 Leading article,

Review, page 3