British newspapers have admitted they were wrong to publish holiday photographs showing England football manager Fabio Capello and his wife on a beach enjoying a ‘mud bath’.

Capello had complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) about the photos, captured on a Spanish beach and published in the News of the World [on 20 September] and in the Daily Mail [the following Monday].

The PCC today said it had resolved the dispute ‘amicably’.

‘Both newspapers accepted that internal procedures – warning of Mr Capello’s concerns – had failed and that the pictures were published in error,’ the PCC said in a statement.

‘Following complaints, they have apologised to the Capellos, given undertakings for the future, and – at the request of the Capellos – given substantial donations to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. The complaints have been amicably resolved on that basis.’

Capello and the Football Association had relayed their concerns about the presence of photographers during the holiday, by issuing a statement to newspaper editors – via the PCC – on 17 September.

Media commentator Roy Greenslade described the agreement as a ‘landmark moment’.

Writing in his blog on the Guardian website Greenslade said it demonstrates that the privacy clause in the PCC’s Code of Practice is taken ‘more seriously than ever before – a positive result of the Human Rights Act’.

A PCC spokeswoman told Amateur Photographer: ‘It is an important case, as it shows that a celebrity has chosen to come to the PCC rather than the law, both before and after publication on a privacy matter, and has achieved a satisfactory resolution in a very short space of time (three days).’

The news comes just days after it emerged that attempts by celebrities to thwart paparazzi, using ‘laser shields’, could give photographers grounds for legal action.

This followed a report that Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch, has installed an ‘anti-paparazzi shield’ on one of his yachts.


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