Chris Brasher and John Disley, organisers of the London Marathon, yesterday accepted more than pounds 380,000 High Court libel damages over magazine and TV allegations that they used the event to enrich themselves. Channel 4 and the New Statesman are also faced with a costs bill which brings the total settlement package to more than pounds 1.1m.
George Carman QC, for the event organisers, told Mr Justice Waller that the two men who founded the marathon in 1980 were caused serious distress and damage by the magazine publication in July 1990 and the broadcast in the Dispatches series in March 1991. The allegations that they had been consistently guilty of fraud, deception and dishonesty were "entirely untrue".
Brasher said afterwards: "As a former sports editor of a national newspaper my normal inclination is not to rush into libel action against the media. However, these allegations were so outrageously untrue and hurtful that we had no choice but to seek retribution through the courts.
"Now our reputations have been completely cleared. I am only sorry that it has taken four years - four years of hell for us and our families - for the New Statesman and Channel 4 to admit that the allegations made were completely unfounded."