Manchester

Wayne Rooney wins £4.3m agency pay case

Manchester United star Wayne Rooney has defeated an attempt by his former agents to sue him for £4.3m.

Sports management firm Proactive sued him saying he owed them commission on a number of lucrative deals.

After the hearing at Manchester Mercantile Court, Rooney said he was "delighted" and the firm had tried to "exploit him" by demanding vast sums.

Proactive's former agent, Paul Stretford, took Rooney with him when he left the firm in acrimony in 2008.

Despite Proactive claiming he should have paid them 20% commission on his multi-million pound deals because the contract had not been properly terminated, Judge Brendan Hegarty QC ruled in the footballer's favour.

'Over-inflated claims'

The judge said the contract that Rooney had signed when he was a 17-year-old Everton player had amounted to a "restraint of trade" as it was up to eight years long when the Football Association recommends a maximum of two years.

Rooney, who is on holiday in Barbados with his family, said: "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.

Judge Hegarty said about £90,000 should be paid to Proactive in commission and for management services from Coleen Rooney's earnings and that £5,000 was due from Wayne Rooney.

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Media captionPaul Stretford expresses his delight at the outcome

"Going to court was the last thing I wanted to do.

"I was shocked that a company which represents some of Britain's biggest entertainers was going down this road which meant that private financial and commercial matters were made public.

"But you always have to fight for what's right in life and that's why we contested it."

Judge Hegarty had postponed his verdict until after the World Cup had finished.

Rooney made no payments after football agent Paul Stretford, a director and founder of Proactive, left the firm taking with him their star client.

He formed a new company Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group Ltd and Rooney still uses him as an agent.

"We always believed that the multi-million pound claims made against them were baseless and exploitative," Mr Stretford said.

"Proactive, now part of James Grant Group, had claimed a staggering £8.3 million from Wayne and Coleen.

"The judge has ruled that they will get nothing like that sum.

"I would like to thank Wayne and Coleen for showing such strength of conviction and resilience under a great deal of pressure, and for believing in what they felt was right."

Proactive, however, has said it may take the case to the Court of Appeal.

The company said the overall verdict was "disappointing" but that it was pleased with the judge's decision to make the Rooneys pay them £90,000.

"Proactive will continue to take all appropriate steps to ensure that it receives proper and reasonable recompense for its successful endeavours in representing the Rooneys."

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