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The BBC's Adam Mynott
"Never before has a jury verdict been overturned this peverse"
 real 56k

Bruce Grobbelaar speaking from Johannesburg
"I will continue to fight"
 real 28k

Daniel Taylor, solicitor for The Sun newspaper
"The criminal trial is not an issue here"
 real 56k

Joshua Rozenberg, legal editor The Daily Telegraph
"It is a very unusual case"
 real 56k

FA executive director David Davies
with a statement on the Grobbelaar case
 real 28k

Thursday, 18 January, 2001, 21:01 GMT
Paper welcomes Grobbelaar ruling
Bruce Grobbelaar arriving at Winchester Crown Court
Bruce Grobbelaar spent five years clearing his name
The Sun newspaper has welcomed the Court of Appeal's decision to strip former Liverpool keeper Bruce Grobbelaar of 85,000 damages he won over match-fixing allegations.

Grobbelaar has said he is "devastated" by the judgement, in which his 1999 victory was described as "a miscarriage of justice".

The former footballer, who spent five years trying to clear his name, now faces legal costs of up to 1.5m


I have been through two criminal trials and one libel trial and most of the jurors were in my favour

Bruce Grobbelaar
"I am absolutely astounded and absolutely devastated at what's happened, and I feel very sorry for my family who have stuck by me through thick and thin," he said after the ruling.

"It's very, very sad for the judicial service of Great Britain if that can happen."

Grobbelaar maintained he had never helped fix a match and said his solicitor would be making a petition for leave to appeal to the House of Lords.

"I have never tainted the game of football," he told BBC News 24.

Pictures from The Sun's investigation
Grobbelaar was alleged to have accepted money
The Sun had argued that the 43-year-old Zimbabwean had accepted money while playing for Liverpool and Southampton.

In 1999 a jury at the High Court returned a unanimous verdict in Mr Grobbelaar's favour.

But the Appeal Court has overturned the jury's verdict on grounds of perversity.

Giving his reserved judgement, Lord Justice Simon Brown said the jury's verdict at a High Court hearing in August 1999 "represents a miscarriage of justice which this court can and must correct".

'Utterly implausible'

He continued: "In my judgement Mr Grobbelaar's case is so utterly implausible that no jury acting reasonably could have accepted it as true.

"It follows, for reasons explained earlier, that the jury's verdict cannot stand and should be set aside."

Mr Grobbelaar's lawyers were refused permission to take the case to the House of Lords but they will now enter their own petition.

Bruce Grobbelaar fails to save a goal in a 1993 match at St James Park
The controversial 1993 Newcastle v Liverpool match
His solicitor, David Hewitt, said: "In our view it's quite wrong for the Court of Appeal to substitute its findings for jurors who had had the opportunity to hear all the evidence."

The paper's editor, David Yelland, said: "This is a momentous vindication of The Sun. It is a great day for the British press and for football.

"If it had not been for The Sun our national game would have been corrupted. We saved English soccer."

'Without precedent'

Former Sun editor Stuart Higgins said: "I am absolutely delighted that I have been vindicated and, more importantly, that a brilliant team of Sun journalists has been vindicated."

Daniel Taylor, company solicitor for The Sun's publishers News International, said: "For the first time in English legal history, a jury verdict in a libel action has been set aside on appeal on the grounds that it was perverse and unreasonable and, in the words of the judgement, an affront and a miscarriage of justice."

Mr Grobbelaar took The Sun to court after the paper published a series of damning articles about him in November 1994, based, it said, on secretly recorded videos of the footballer.

His libel action followed two criminal trials at Winchester in 1997 - the first of which ended in deadlock - resulting in Mr Grobbelaar being cleared of conspiracy, along with ex-Wimbledon stars John Fashanu and Hans Segers and businessman Richard Lim.

Key Liverpool game

It was also ordered in the High Court's libel ruling that Mr Grobbelaar, who said he was the victim of a "classic scam", should have his estimated 400,000 legal costs met by the newspaper, which also had to foot its own 500,000 bill.

Pleading justification and qualified privilege, The Sun had alleged that Grobbelaar took 40,000 to make sure Liverpool lost 3-0 at Newcastle in November 1993.

It also said he had blown his chance of 125,000 more in a January 1994 game against Manchester United, which ended in a 3-3 draw, by accidentally making a sensational save in a match he was trying to lose.

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