The News of the World newspaper have issued a written apology to Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez following a report they published on February 10th this year.
In the offending piece “which was incorrectly translated” Beasley claimed Benitez had blamed Liverpool’s co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks of ruining the team’s title hopes, with the typically sensationalist headline “It’s your fault – Benitez in new blast at owners” hardly reflecting the quotes the piece contained.
The original quotes were taken from an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo, where Benitez was asked “A few months back, Liverpool’s owners did not have all their trust on your work, when the team was six points from the leaders and with a match on hand. Do you think all that controversy has negatively affected your team’s progress since then?”
And the Reds manager replied: “As a manager I could say yes. I would have the perfect excuse, but I don’t want to use it as an excuse. What is clear is that at that time we were in a good position and that we were close to winning many of those matches that we ended up drawing, and that is why we are in this position now.”
Beasley instead wrote Benitez’s quotes as “What is evident is that back at that time we were in a great position and the team was in shape to win many of the games which we eventually drew.
“So the entire process is what allowed the gap to open between us and the leaders.
“If I wanted, I have the perfect excuse. The only solution I have is to try to bury myself in my work. And it is vital we win today to enable us to fight at least for that fourth-place spot.”
See how Beasley changed “I would have the perfect excuse, but I don’t want to use it as an excuse” to simply “I would have the perfect excuse.”
Benitez immediately went on the offensive and it was reported in April he was claiming damages, aggravated damages, and an injunction banning repetition of the allegations and that he was also suing Beasley himself over the story.
Today’s apology in the paper doesn’t state whether compensation has been settled yet.
Update: The Liverpool Echo today (Tuesday 21st October) reported a five figure sum has been settled out of court, with the money going to a Merseyside school for children with special needs at the request of the Reds boss.
Well in Rafa.