Many of the sports journalists involved in the snooping worked for Rupert Murdoch’s Sun and News Of The World, although other tabloids, including The Mirror, were embroiled in the conspiracy.
Crowdfunded journalism platform Byline Times has revealed how eleven separate England football team captains were illegally spied on by British journalists over the years.
David Seaman, Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer were all targets of long-term surveillance, their phone communications, medical records, and physical movements monitored and recorded. In some cases their friends and families were also covertly monitored.
Information collected via espionage ended up as front and back page splashes from 1995 – 2010, including stories based on confidential medical information related to hospital visits and injury treatments.
A media insider claims sports departments “thought nothing” of publishing scandalous, ill-gotten information, and reporters “rarely” questioned the information’s source.
The revelations raise the prospect of yet further legal actions being launched against The Sun and Mirror. Hitherto, actions arising from the phone hacking scandal have focused on other departments, costing hundreds of millions of pounds in damages and legal fees. Scores of players are said to be preparing claims.