Charles Sale: Rooney war takes High Court route
Wayne Rooney's highly assured performance in front of the Press in Almaty on Thursday gave no indication of the current turmoil behind the scenes over the rights to represent him. Rooney's agent Paul Stretford is being sued for £3.5million by Formation, the sports agency he set up, in the latest legal conflict during the marathon war over Rooney's representation that has raged in one form or another since Rooney first joined Stretford as a16-year-old in 2002. Turmoil behind the scenes: Wayne Rooney's agent Paul Stretford, pictured behind the Manchester united star's father Wayne Snr, is being sued for £3.5m Formation have lodged High Court papers claiming the monies from Stretford, who is currently serving a nine-month ban as a football agent for multi-breaches of FA regulations in one of the disputes dating back seven years. Formation allege they're owed a percentage of Rooney's commercial deals which Stretford set up before splitting with Formation last October. The sum also includes the FA fine of £300,000 and legal fees which Formation paid on Stretford's behalf. A spokesman for Stretford, who has since formed Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group with former Newcastle owner Freddie Shepherd and his football agent son Kenneth that now act for Rooney and wife Colleen said: 'We believe this is an ill-construed, ill-conceived action and we will defend it like the Russians did Stanlingrad.' Formation, who are in the middle of a management buy-out, countered: 'We don't want to destabilise Wayne in any way, but we have to pursue this matter in the interests of our shareholders. We were under amis apprehension when we paid Paul's fine.' Kristinn Jokabsson, the Icelandic referee for the England match, and his assistants will be tired out before the game starts. En route from from Reykjavik to Almaty yesterday, their connection flight from Heathrow was eventually cancelled after a 10-hour delay. The officials will now arrive less than 24 hours before kick-off. Also on the flight were the ITV commentary team. In admirable contrast to super greedy Chelsea and Manchester United, who take exclusive in-house pictures to sell for £500 to newspapers, the FA yesterday distributed free of charge to the media, decent pictures of David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney with local kids in Almaty. There is always plenty of friction between the Premiership and the FA, but that hasn't stopped a record number of club powerbrokers standing for election today for the expanded eight places on the FA council, one of which automatically goes to PL chairman Dave Richards. The 10 suits competing for the remaining seven seats are David Gill (above, Man Utd), Daniel Levy (Spurs), David Gold (Birmingham) Paul Duffen(Hull), Phil Gartside (Bolton) Maurice Lindsay (Wigan), Dave Barnard(Chelsea), Mark Collins (Fulham), Jess Moxey (Wolves) , Peter Storrie(Portsmouth). Aussie bad boy Andrew Symonds, sent home from the World Cup Twenty20 squad yesterday after another heavy drinking episode when on a last warning, started off his booze fest in distinguished cricketing company in the Marriott Regent Park hotel where the Australians are staying. His drinking group included Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove, who shares a love of fishing with Symonds whom the Rosebowl chief got to know through his great friendship with Shane Warne. Disney hold Setanta key Disney-owned ESPN Sports remain the best bet to save troubled network Setanta from going under. But ESPN's European boss Lynne Frank, who has been seen in the Setanta offices, seems to favour waiting for administration. In that way ESPN can cherry pick the rights they covet, rather than having to pick up all Setanta's debt liabilities. However Setanta still sent a healthy 22 personnel to Kazakhstan to televise the England game, seven of which were added to the original party when it was discovered Kazakhstan's host broadcasting wasn't up to the required standard. And there was still enough in the Setanta coffers for the commentary team of Jon Champion and Chris Waddle to travel business class to Central Asia.