An English high court has overturned an injunction prohibiting publishing news of Chelsea and national team captain John Terry's affair with a teammate's girlfriend. Forget the shitshow this will cause the Lions; the ramifications for the press are huge.
Rumors have long flown that the married Terry was carrying on a long-running affair with Vanessa Perroncel, a French underwear model and longterm girlfriend of then-Chelsea and still-World Cup squad teammate Wayne Bridge. The News of the World was all set to run a story on the affair, but last Friday, Terry received an injunction from a judge to kill the story.
It was supposed to be so comprehensive, that media were forbidden from even reporting on the injunction.
Now, English law is incredibly media-unfriendly. Libel laws are some of the harshest in the world, and courts have long been criticized for protecting the private lives of the rich and famous. Last month, a married Premier League manager was photographed visiting a brothel; but no one was allowed to report on it.
So when a judge today overturned the injunction and allowed publication of Terry's affair, it could be a landmark ruling on par with — if not directly related to — the lifting of a ban two days ago on publishing suspected terrorists' names.
The ruling's justifications were twofold: that the rumors were so well-known that an injunction was pointless, and that since the World Cup squad could be affected, it becomes a matter of public interest.
Bridge, one of Terry's closest friends and a team-mate at Chelsea FC until last January, is expected to be named in England's World Cup squad by the manager, Fabio Capello, but news of the alleged affair will present him with a dilemma.
Sources close to Bridge say he is "in bits" after hearing about the alleged affair.
Capello may now come under pressure to strip Terry of the England captaincy if his off-the-field behaviour is affecting team matters.
And, perhaps most importantly, this clears the way for Deadspin UK!