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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Rory McIlroy case deferred as legal teams discuss how to 'narrow' issues

World number one golfer Rory McIlroy’s court case against his former management was deferred for three hours in the Four Courts today.

Former Attorney General Paul Gallagher for McIlroy asked for the three hour adjournment to allow both sides to discuss how they could “narrow’ the number of issues involved.

He said the case was likely to take eight weeks and there were “many issues”.

Mr Justice Brian Cregan agreed to adjourn the case until 2pm.

The golfer arrived in the Four Courts 45 minutes before the hearing surrounded by his legal and PR team.

Fresh from his recent win at the Dubai Desert Classic, McIlroy looked calm and tanned in a dark navy pin-striped suit and blue check shirt.

Four consultation rooms have been booked by the group in the basement of the courts for the duration of the case.

McIroy took his place in the court at 10.45am and  sat beside his personal assistant Sean O'Flaherty and CEO of Rory McIlroy Inc Donal Casey.

The public gallery of Court Number One in the Round Hall had been restricted to 30 people to allow space for the huge media gathering.

McIlroy is claiming an agreement signed by him in December 2011 with Horizon Sports Management is invalid and unenforceable on a number of grounds including alleged undue influence.

He is taking legal proceedings against Horizon Sports Management and two associated companies - Gurteen Ltd with an address in Malta and Canovan Management Services in Dublin.

Rory McIlroy arriving at Four Courts, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Rory McIlroy arriving at Four Courts, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Rory McIlroy arriving at Four Courts, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Rory McIlroy arriving at Four Courts, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

McIlroy claims Horizon had charged commissions “many times greater” than a standard in the sports industry, including one agreement in which he must pay 20pc of his sponsorship and 15pc if the contract was renewed after 2017.

Horizon has denied the claims and has counterclaimed for revenues allegedly outstanding under the agreement for off-course income.

They estimate they are owed $9milion (€7.9million) in commission and are seeking damages for loss of further revenue.

Senior Counsel for the defendants Paul Sreenan has previously said that the ink on their March 2013 extension agreement was barely dry when McIlroy left to set up his own company, Rory McIlroy Inc.

The golfer is arguing that he had been naive when he signed an “unconscionable contract” with “excessive commissions”.

He maintains he was not given any draft of the agreement before it was presented to him for signature on December 21st 2011 in a soliticitor’s office on the day of Horizon’s Christmas party “in circumstances of great informality”.

McIlroy claims he was just 22 when he signed the agreement without the benefit of legal advice and with no business experience.

Horizon is claiming their involvement only served to enhance both McIlroy’s career and his financial security and that he owes them money in unpaid fees.

The Sports Management company had sought access to McIlroy’s mobile phones, as well as those of figures close to him, including his father Gerry.

Early last month the court refused Horizon’s application for access to the phones.

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