On 29 September we stated, in an article headed “Blues are on the ball” that Chelsea football stars flirted with various Coronation Street and Hollyoaks actresses at the Sex and the City Ball while John Terry, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba enjoyed “girly pampering treats” while they were staying at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester before a recent game.
We now accept that the players did not attend the ball and the story was therefore untrue.
We unreservedly apologise to Chelsea and to the players for making these allegations for any distress and embarrassment our article has caused.
The mind boggles as to how the original story was concocted, but given the revelations coming from the Starsuckers film, which shows the newspapers printing any old sleb crap without checking if it is, actually, you know, true, then it is not surprising apologies like this appear.
The Star does make up stories quite often. The Press Gazette reported yesterday that Peaches Geldof is to sue the paper over its front page story which heavily implied she was a prostitute ('Peaches: Spend night with me for £5k'). They apologised for that back in March but it seems Geldof wasn't satisfied with a page two apology for a front page lie. And rightly so.
Meanwhile, the People has apologised - and made a charitable donation - for an article about Justine McGuinness, a PR expert involved in the McCann case. The paper claimed she had overcharged the Madeleine fund to the tune of £20,000 and then been forced to resign. McGuinness disputed that and Mirror Group Newspapers were forced to back down:
MGN Limited had accepted that the allegations were incorrect and apologised. It agreed to make a donation to an undisclosed charity of Ms McGuinness's choice.
MGN's solicitor, Holly Mason, apologised for the distress and embarrassment caused.