Channel 4's Alex Thomson calls for FA to introduce contractual regulations after Newcastle United Telegraph ban
Channel 4 chief correspondent Alex Thomson has branded the banning of journalists from football clubs 'pathetic' and 'inexcusable' in a blog post published on Friday, telling clubs to grow up.Thomson - recently named RTS Television Journalist of the Year - had scathing words for football clubs in documented cases of banning journalists, including revelations this week that Newcastle United had banned The Telegraph's Luke Edwards following an article about a dressing room split, and called on the FA to impose contractual regulations to counter bans.Thomson wrote: "Banning reporters should become a breach of contract and regulation which it is the clear duty of the FA to impose upon the game which looks more powerless and weak every time this happens."It’s time clubs who ban journalists were forced to grow up a wee bit – and well past time that football journalism and the FA stood up for the game and not the money and put a stop to this nonsense."Thomson documented examples at Celtic, Rangers and Manchester United, noting a press conference at Ibrox last year during his coverage of the Rangers financial collapse at which "questions were banned". At Celtic, he spoke of a Glasgow journalist - believed to be Daily Record sports writer Hugh Keevins, but unconfirmed by the club - who was "banned from Celtic for doing something to upset some thin-skinned pansy or other up the East End," adding "Celtic and Rangers share a shameful pedigree in this: for years they’ve felt able to ban reporters with impunity and nobody seems to lift a finger in protest."The war correspondent had stark words for Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who ended a seven-year boycott of the BBC last year after a documentary containing allegations about his son, and said the "bovine north-east press pack" were too accepting of the problem.The blog received a mixed reaction from Twitter users.
Strong words: Alex Thomson described bans as 'pathetic'
— gordonchree (@gordonchree) May 3, 2013
@alextomo is it censorship or a justified response to downright lies from journos. why shld clubs tolerate slander?— mk1010 (@mickat88) May 3, 2013
@alextomo banning a reporter from your grounds does not equal censorship. He's still free to write what he likes - hence not censored.— FK (@FK_HH) May 3, 2013
@alextomo Well, when this journalist you mention continually prints inaccuracies, why on earth would you continue to make him welcome?— matt mcglone (@MattMcGlone9) May 3, 2013
Colleague Alex Thomson rightly tells football clubs who ban reporters to grow up. But why don't football reporters back banned colleagues?— Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick) May 3, 2013