LONDON - High-profile figures were considering suing after their phones were allegedly hacked by a British tabloid with Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson also targeted, media reports and a lawyer said Friday.
Both men are believed to have left messages on the mobile phone of Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, who the Guardian said received 700,000 pounds ($1.14 million) in compensation from the News of the World last year. The Guardian said Thursday actress Gwyneth Paltrow, singer George Michael, ex-England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and former deputy Prime Minister John Prescott were among other celebrities whose messages were intercepted.
A media lawyer said at least two public figures had contacted him seeking advice about taking action against the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, which sells 2.9 million copies each Sunday.
The News of the World's editor at the time the phone tapping was said to have taken place, Andy Coulson, is now the communications chief for the main opposition Conservative Party. Conservative leader David Cameron has stood by Coulson, saying Friday his job was safe because his work for the party "has been completely beyond reproach".
The Guardian says the paper paid a total of a further 300,000 pounds to two other figures from the world of football, but it is unclear whether they were Ferguson and Shearer. The BBC reported Friday that Rebekah Wade, the editor of the News of the World's sister paper, The Sun, was also identified by police as having had phone messages monitored by Mulcaire, but she had declined to press charges.