West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola and first-team coach Steve Clarke have accepted undisclosed libel damages from the BBC over a claim in an interview that they were intending to join Chelsea.
The pair brought court proceedings in over a Radio 5 Live show in February this year, which featured a contribution by journalist Harry Harris.
Their solicitor, James Quartermaine, told Mr Justice Eady that Harris wrongly alleged that they had attended an interview with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich the previous week with a view to becoming the management team for the 2009-10 season.
Quartermaine added that Zola and Clarke were – and remained – under contract to West Ham and for them to have attended an interview of this type, unauthorised by the club, would have constituted a breach of their contracts of employment and, in Zola’s case, FA Premier League rules.
“The broadcast of this unfounded allegation caused Mr Zola and Mr Clarke acute distress and anxiety as it was understandably feared that it would damage their relationship with their employers and with the players and fans of West Ham United.”
He added that the BBC had accepted the allegation was without foundation, and had agreed to pay Zola and Clarke damages and their legal costs.