Nicolas Anelka sues French newspaper L’Equipe for libel

The French-born footballer and Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka is reportedly suing French newspaper L’Equipe for publishing details of controversial comments he made during the recent World Cup tournament.

Anelka was famously sent home from the World Cup tournament by the French Football Federation after unleashing an expletive-filled rant at coach Raymond Domenech whilst playing for his country. The footballer has never denied that this incident occurred, but he has objected to the coverage of the story by L’Equipe, a daily sports newspaper. He is suing L’Equipe for defamation, claiming that the publication distorted his words on the front-page headline.

In a comment on the lawsuit published on the newspaper’s website, L’Equipe says that it will defend itself by calling on various witnesses to the scene, presumably to verify that Anelka’s words corresponded with what was printed. L’Equipe also said at the case is expected to begin this autumn.

It is not certain whether L’Equipe has professional indemnity insurance in place to cover the costs of fighting libel lawsuits such as this one, but it would be very surprising if the newspaper didn’t have even a basic level of cover for legal fees etc. This is because the publishing industry is much more vulnerable to libel lawsuits that any other, so most businesses tend take out professional insurance as standard.

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