Otherwise they'll have to pay Aprilia £400,000...

The SPICE GIRLS have launched an appeal against a court order that they should repay a scooter company £400,000 from a sponsorship deal which fell through when GERI HALLIWELL (Ginger Spice) left the band.

They were ordered by the High Court to pay Italian firm Aprilia the money after it was ruled that they signed the deal despite knowing Halliwell was about to leave.

In London’s Appeal Court yesterday (November 27), lawyers for the remaining members of the Spice Girls said they were &quotinnocent” and did not know of Ginger Spice’s imminent departure when the deal was tied up in May 1998.

Aprilia had marketed specially-themed Spice Scooters, carrying silhouettes of all five members. They claim the promotion became a &quottotal marketing flop” with Geri’s exit.

The Spice Girls say they signed the deal with Aprilia in March 1998 and that Halliwell gave notice of her intention to leave the following month. According to the BBC, they also argue that Halliwell first said she would not be leaving until the end of a US tour in September that year, and this would have had no effect on the contract. She changed her mind and quit without warning in May, they add.

The Spice Girls are themselves seeking £212,250 in unpaid fees and guaranteed royalties from the company. They are also asking the three Appeal Court judges to overturn the High Court ruling from last year, when Mrs Justice Arden said that they should pay £45,000 damages to Aprilia plus £350,000 costs.

The case, which is being heard by Sir Andrew Morritt, the Vice-Chancellor, and Lords Justices Chadwick and Rix, is set to last three days.