Chelsea and England captain John Terry is at the centre of a storm of controversy surrounding his personal life after he allegedly had an affair with the former girlfriend of international team-mate Wayne Bridge, jeopardising his England captaincy and throwing Fabio Capello's World Cup plans into disarray.
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Terry was named on Friday as the player behind a gagging injunction involving his private life following a High Court hearing in London. The Chelsea defender had last week succeeded in securing an interim injunction against a newspaper publishing details about his alleged relationship with Vanessa Perroncel, a French-born underwear model.
But on Friday, the judge, Mr Justice Tugendhat, lifted the order, saying the information had become so widely available to so many people "it meant that an injunction was less necessary or proportionate than would otherwise be the case".
Bridge is understood to be deeply upset by the situation, given he was a good friend of former Chelsea team-mate Terry, and Capello is considering the future of his squad dynamic, including Terry's future as skipper, according to the British press.
Questions such as whether Bridge and Terry can be on the pitch together, or in the same squad, and whether other players would still respect Terry given his betrayal of a colleague, will now be raised.
The order, awarded during a private hearing last Friday, had covered the alleged relationship between LNS - as married Terry was referred to in court - and an unnamed woman which News Group Newspapers had wanted to publish last Sunday.
The judge suggested the claim was "essentially a business matter" for LNS and if he was worried about his sponsorship deals then "damages would be an adequate remedy if LNS succeeds at trial". The judge also said the newspaper, the News of the World, should have been given notice about LNS's intention to seek an injunction.
"Freedom to live as one chooses is one of the most valuable freedoms," he said. "But so is the freedom to criticise - within the limits of the law - the conduct of other members of society as being socially harmful, or wrong."
Terry, who is expected to captain England at the World Cup finals this summer, is married to childhood sweetheart Toni and is the father of twins.
A Chelsea spokesman told Reuters: "This is a personal matter for John Terry. The club will give John and his family all the support they need in dealing with it."