Footballer Rio Ferdinand lost a privacy case over a “kiss and tell” story today because a judge ruled that his behaviour deserved scrutiny as captain of the England team.

Interior designer Carly Storey sold her story of a 13-year relationship with the England and Manchester United centre back for £16,000 last year.

Ferdinand, 32, brought a case for misuse of private information over the story, which appeared in the Sunday Mirror in April 2010, but he was not at London’s High Court to hear his claim dismissed.

Mr Justice Nicol said: "Overall, in my judgment, the balancing exercise favours the defendant's right of freedom of expression over the claimant's right of privacy."

The married footballer accused the Sunday Mirror of misusing private information after the interview with Storey was published.

The case fell on whether the piece was in the public interest and if Article 10 of the Human Rights Act, stating the right to freedom of expression was more important than Article 8, which states the right to privacy.

The judge said that as the captain of the England football team, the newspaper had a right to freedom of expression and to question how suitable Ferdinand was for the role.

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Ferdinand admitted to the affair, saying that he’d sneaked Storey into a hotel where he was staying with other members of his team, but his barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, said this hadn’t happened and that he hadn’t tried to meet Storey after he was made England captain.

The judge said: "I did not find this answer persuasive. In his evidence the claimant said that [Fabio] Capello had told him to be professional, not only on the pitch but 'around the hotel'.

"In the past, the Claimant [Ferdinand] had not behaved in a professional manner around the hotels into which he had tried to sneak Ms Storey.

"Whether or not he had done that in the few weeks since he had been made the permanent captain of England, his relative recent past failings could legitimately be used to call into question his suitability for the role."

During the three-day trial, it was alleged that Ferdinand, who has three children with wife Rebecca, had ten alleged lovers.

Tina Weaver, the editor of the Sunday Mirror, said: "We are pleased the judge ruled that Mr Ferdinand had perpetuated a misleading public image and the Sunday Mirror was entitled to correct this impression.

"There has never been greater scrutiny of the media than now, and we applaud this ruling in recognising the important role a free press has to play in a democratic society."