Rooney lawyers claim victory in court case

Soccer star Wayne Rooney's lawyers today claimed victory in the latest round of a multi-million pound legal fight with a sports management firm.

Soccer star Wayne Rooney's lawyers today claimed victory in the latest round of a multi-million pound legal fight with a sports management firm.

Proactive, which used to represent Rooney and his wife Coleen, said it was owed commission payments and made a £4.3m (€5m) claim against the 26-year-old Manchester United and England striker.

The Court of Appeal today delivered judgment after a hearing in London.

A solicitor representing Rooney said after today's ruling that judges had concluded that an "image rights agreement" between the star and Proactive was "unenforceable", and Paul Hughes said Proactive had not succeeded in its claim for £4.3m (€5m).

He said judges had ruled in Proactive's favour on one point and in Rooney's favour on other points.

"We are delighted," said Mr Hughes. "We have most certainly won."

Rooney claimed victory after the first round of litigation in July last year.

Judge Brendan Hegarty QC ruled that Rooney should pay £5,000 (€5,829), and his wife around £90,000 (€104,917), following a hearing at Manchester Mercantile Court.

Proactive appealed, during a hearing at the Court of Appeal in London in July this year, and asked three appeal judges to overturn the ruling.

Rooney argued that Judge Hegarty's ruling was correct and said the appeal should be dismissed.

The three appeal judges - Lady Justice Arden, Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice Gross - announced their decision today.

Lady Justice Arden handed down the judgment in London today and said the appeal had been allowed "in part".

Mr Hughes said appeal judges had decided that Rooney did not need to pay Proactive any more than the £5,000 (€5,829) Judge Hegarty ordered.

He said they had concluded that Mrs Rooney should pay more than the £90,000 (€104,917) Judge Hegarty ordered - and that amount had yet to be assessed. He estimated that the additional amount would be in the tens of thousands.

Mr Hughes added: "They (Proactive) didn't get the £4.3m (€5m) they had claimed. They succeeded on one (legal) point."

Judge Hegarty heard that Rooney had been signed by agent Paul Stretford for Proactive in 2002 when he was playing for Everton.

Mr Stretford, a founder and director of Proactive, left the firm in 2008. He launched a new sports management firm and took Rooney with him.

Rooney had not made commission payments on deals after Mr Stretford left, the judge was told.

Proactive argued that, because contracts were brokered by Mr Stretford while he was still at the firm, it was due commission.

Christopher Jeans QC, for Proactive, told the appeal court that Judge Hegarty had described the dispute as a "tug of war".

"The judge described these present proceedings as something of a tug of war between Proactive and Mr Stretford over the right to represent Wayne Rooney," said Mr Jeans.

"They (Proactive) have not tried to hold Mr Rooney to Proactive but seek to be paid for the contracts they secured."

Proactive has yet to comment on today's ruling.

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