Eccleston’s Olympic gold medallist Sir Bradley Wiggins is embroiled in a complex lawsuit after accusing his management company of overcharging by around £700,000.
The legal row started after MTC (UK) sued him in London’s High Court for commission of £741,600, allegedly due on his cycling contract with Team Sky after he won two gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Wiggins declined to pay the bills, terminated his arrangement with MTC, and has now issued a counterclaim against the management company for £809,418.
He accuses the company of trying to charge commission it was not entitled to on his personal income from cycling.
The company, he says, did not act as his exclusive agent and failed to account to him properly for money it received.
There was, he says, no written agreement with the firm.
Wiggins is now represented by celebrity agency XIX Entertainment.
Olympic rower James Cracknell introduced Wiggins to MTC shortly after the 2004 Olympic Games, a High Court claim says.
MTC claims it agreed to act as Wiggins’ sole and exclusive management agent in exchange for 20 per cent of his gross income, apart from professional cycling contracts.
But Wiggins disputes this, saying it was only entitled to commission on contracts it negotiated for him, and that for the first four years, he and his wife, friends or agents acting for free also negotiated contracts for him.
After his success at the Beijing Olympics, Wiggins asked MTC’s managing director Jonathan Marks to provide services in connection with his move to Team Sky, it is alleged.
Three years later Wiggins also asked for help with renegotiating his contract with Team Sky, and a bonus dependent on a Tour de France win or podium finish, the claim states.
Wiggins disputes this.
During phone calls with Team Sky’s principal Sir Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton, Marks was allegedly told Wiggins had been offered up to £4m a year and a £1m bonus for winning the 2012 Tour de France.
As a result, MTC invoiced Wiggins for £240,000 as 20 per cent of the bonus agreement, and £501,600 for a share of his improved earnings.
MTC accuses Wiggins of breaching his obligations under the agreement, by failing to pay its invoices, failing to pay commission on other contracts, terminating the agreement without six months’ notice, and appointing other management agents.
Wiggins denies he asked MTC to provide further services, and says the company was only entitled to 20 per cent of net income from contracts it negotiated.
His defence states that MTC received commission totalling £226,248.25 for contacts it had negotiated.
But by the end of 2012, it is claimed that Wiggins was increasingly disenchanted with MTC, its accounting practices and Marks’ attitude to him.
On January 31, 2013, his solicitors DAC Beachcroft wrote to MTC seeking accounts and financial information.
They suspended MTC’s authority to act for him, his company Wiggins Rights Ltd and his charitable foundation the Bradley Wiggins Foundation.
MTC responded by claiming this was a repudiation of the oral agency agreement, which entitled MTC to treat the agreement as terminated and to sue for damages.
Wiggins seeks declarations that MTC is not entitled to commission on his Team Sky bonus and contracts, and an order stopping MTC from using his image and referring to him on their website and adverts.
He also seeks payments totalling £809,418, less its commission, damages, and accounts.