A second newspaper has apologised regarding reports wrongly claiming England and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole and Choice FM’s DJ Mastertepz were involved in a gay orgy.

The Sun echoed its sister paper, The News of the World, with a retraction today after publishing a series of articles between the 12th and 19th of February 2006 accompanied with pixelated photographs of Mr Cole and the radio DJ Masterstepz (Ian Thompson) although neither party was named.

The Sun also ran a picture of Cole and his fiancée, Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Tweedy, with the headline, “Ashley’s got a good taste in rings,” alluding to alleged sex acts using vibrating mobile phones.

The following week, PinkNews.co.uk published an unedited version of the photographs that confirmed the newspapers were alleging that Mr Cole and Mr Thompson were the parties involved in the alleged orgy.

After publication of the photographs on PinkNews.co.uk, Mr Cole and Mr Thompson began legal action against the News of the World and the Sun but not against PinkNews.co.uk.

Cole’s lawyer, Graham Shear, said in a statement: “These proceedings were commenced because these newspapers published false and offensive articles designed to tell readers that Ashley had behaved in what the News of the World described as a ‘perverted’ way with other professional footballers.

“The newspapers knew there was no basis to name Ashley but arranged the articles and pictures in such a way that readers would identify him.

“There is no truth whatever in these allegations. Ashley Cole will not tolerate this kind of cowardly journalism or let it go unchallenged.”

Today’s apology said: “We are happy to make clear that Mr Cole and Masterstepz were not involved in any such activities.

“We apologise to them for any distress caused and we will be paying them each a sum by way of damages.”

It follows an apology from the Daily Star last March, in a case which showed how the internet can be used for jigsaw identification and provided a landmark example of the use of libel laws when an individual is unnamed.