WAYNE ROONEY said yesterday that he was “delighted” after fighting off a £4.3 million (€5.1m) lawsuit.
The Manchester United and England striker, along with his wife Coleen, were being sued for millions in commission payments by his former sports management firm in a long-running contracts dispute — but a judge ruled yesterday that he must only pay £5,000 (€6,000) and his wife around £90,000 (€107,000).
And Proactive, which brought the case against the player, was left facing legal bills of up to £500,000, (€598,000) according to Rooney’s lawyers.
Rooney followed the case at Manchester Mercantile Court from Barbados where he is on holiday.
Following the judgment in his favour, Rooney issued a statement.
He said: “I am delighted to have won this case. Coleen and I have always been happy to pay all commissions due to the people who were owed them.
“But these sums were a joke and we felt they were just an attempt to exploit us.
“Fortunately, the judge has knocked back their massively over-inflated claims and we are happy to pay the very small sum awarded.
“Going to court was the last thing I wanted to do. But you always have to fight for what’s right in life and that’s why we contested it.
“Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank my Mum and Dad for their help, support and values they have given me.”
Rooney, 24, was signed by football agent Paul Stretford for Proactive, a founder and director of the firm, in 2002 as the teenage prodigy became the hottest property in football.
Rooney, then 17, went from £80-a-week Everton trainee living in his parent’s council house in Croxteth, Liverpool, to a household name, signing multi-million pound sponsorship deals, brokered by Mr Stretford, with the likes of Nike and Coca-Cola.
But he made no more commission payments on the deals after Mr Stretford left the firm in acrimony in October 2008, taking with him their star client. Proactive had argued that, as such contracts for Rooney and his wife Coleen were brokered by Stretford while he was still at the firm, it was still due the 20% commission — amounting to £4.3 million (€5.1m).
But following a three-week trial in February, Judge Brendan Hegarty QC, who postponed giving his ruling until after the World Cup, handed down his judgment backing the Rooneys.
Outside court, Stretford said: “I have spoken to Wayne and he is as joyous as you can imagine.” He said the footballer “feels as though he did the right thing and stood up for himself".
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved