Rebekah Vardy’s friends ‘abused’ FA officer at Euros 2016, court told

FA official’s witness statement says she was almost reduced to tears in ‘altercation’

Zoe Tidman
Monday 16 May 2022 16:41
<p>Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice on Monday</p>

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice on Monday

Rebekah Vardy’s friends were abusive to staff during the 2016 Euros in a row over seating, a court has heard.

Harpreet Robertson, an FA officer, said both Ms Vardy and her friends were not in allocated seats when they sat behind Coleen Rooney during an England match.

Some of the party were in seats reserved for security staff and refused to move, resulting in an “altercation” that nearly left Ms Robertson in tears, according to her written witness statement.

She was giving evidence in a high-profile trial which centres on Ms Rooney claiming private information on Instagram was being leaked to the press through Ms Vardy’s account.

Ms Vardy, who is married to Premier League striker Jamie Vardy, denies the allegations and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel.

The seating in a Euro 2016 match has previously been brought up in the High Court trial, which has seen Ms Vardy quizzed about relationships with the press and messages with her agent discussing potentially leaking stories.

Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney arrive at court on Monday 16 May

Last week, the 40-year-old told the court it was “nonsense” to suggest she deliberately went to sit behind Ms Rooney, whose husband Wayne Rooney was England captain at the time, even though she was not meant to.

Ms Robertson, who was the ticketing management and family liason officer for the FA, gave her version of events in a written witness statement released on Monday.

She said Ms Vardy and five guests were allocated seats several rows in front of Ms Rooney and at least 15 seats to the left during the Euros match in question.

Wives and girlfriends of players would be spread out to avoid attracting too much attention, as had happened before, she said.

Ms Robertson said she would sit with security staff at the back to watch over guests, especially high-profile ones such as Ms Rooney.

For this game, she was meant to be two rows directly behind Ms Rooney, according to her witness statement.

She would also reserve seats for herself and security staff at the back of their section so they could monitor guests - especially high-profile ones like Ms Rooney.

“Around 10 minutes before kick-off, I arrived at my seat to find a number of people already sat in the seats I had reserved for myself and FA security team members,” her witness statement said.

“I asked them to move but they refused and were incredibly rude and abusive to me, remarking words to the effect of ‘we can sit where we like, f*** off’.

“An altercation followed which almost reduced me to tears. I soon realised that these people were the guests of Becky.”

She said she ended up sitting elsewhere with security after some back and forth. “This compromised security for the entire players family and friends group to at least some extent,” she said.

Ms Vardy, who was directly behind Ms Rooney and her family, was not in her allocated seat, according to the FA officer.

“It appeared that she wanted to be sat in the seats that were right in the eye line of anyone looking at, or photographing, Coleen,” she said.

In her own witness statement, Ms Vardy had claimed Ms Rooney’s family were sitting in her allocated seats. “Rather than make a fuss we sat in the nearest seats available,” she said.

The 40-year-old model also denied a subsequent story that she had “intentionally swapped seats to get nearer to Coleen because that is where the cameras would be and it would maximise my publicity”.

“I had no idea where the cameras would be and I was not interested in that,” Ms Vardy’s witness statement said.

But Ms Robertson claimed Ms Vardy’s evidence was “simply untrue” on this topic.

Taking the witness stand on Monday, the FA officer described the incident as the “worst moment” she had ever had working at a match.

The trial continues, with Mr Rooney expected to take the stand on Tuesday.

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