The article stated that Mr O'Neill had used his lawyers in an attempt to suppress disclosure by the BBC of the fact of his shareholding and implied that he had made a pledge to sell his shares which he later reneged on. We accept that these allegations are untrue.
Based on those inaccuracies Mr Lawton alleged that Mr O'Neill had blindly refused to acknowledge the problems to which ownership of such shares could give rise and was one of those who ran football without any understanding of proper values. It was further alleged that Mr O'Neill saw no problem in opening himself up to accusations of conflict of interest and, as such, was guilty of a combination of arrogance and total ignorance of what passes for acceptable behaviour.
We accept that those allegations were wrong as they were based on untrue facts and that Mr O'Neill took care to ensure that no actual conflict ever arose. We apologise to Mr O'Neill for the distress caused by our article and have assured him that we do not intend to repeat the above allegations. We have paid him substantial damages and his legal costs.
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