Southampton bans photographs; newspaper employs cartoonist

Southampton football club have joined the long list of clubs that ban or want to ban the media from their matches as it suits. Back in November it was Portsmouth FC banning a journalist whose coverage it didn’t like and Alex Ferguson for a long time did not allow the BBC to interview him, again because he didn’t like the tone of its coverage.

This time it is photographers in the firing line as Southampton has banned them from its matches, wanting people instead to buy official photographs for use in media coverage. This has at least been good news for one cartoonist as a local paper has responded by commissioning them to draw pictures of key match moments and is using them to illustrate its coverage instead.

As I wrote previously,

Banning and cold-shouldering football journalists is a deeply ingrained part of the attitude of many football clubs. It raises the interesting question of where you draw the line when it comes to journalistic freedom. Almost everyone would be outraged if the Speaker banned a journalist from Parliament for writing a piece he didn’t like. On the other hand, almost everyone would feel it’s their own personal right not to let a journalist into their own home.

Where football clubs fall on that spectrum is often a matter for debate: they’re not public institutions, but they have a role in their communities and the sport has a role in the country that is different from most straight-forwardly commercial enterprises.

UPDATE: Southampton’s plans look to be falling apart as the photography agency they had selected to provide exclusive photos with other photographers banned has said they don’t want to be part of such an arrangement.

UPDATE 2: But on the other hand … the club has reiterated its determination to stick to its plans.

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  • I’m a bit confused by all this tbh, Manchester United have never stopped the Beeb interviewing or gaining statements from anyone else at the club. Mike Phelan often does the post/pre-match interview, as has previous assistant managers, for any BBC coverage or failing that a player comes in. It is Fergie’s own personal “ban” on the BBC from talking to him only, which he is well within his rights to do under personal choice.

    is it petty that it’s lasted 6 years, yes but I don’t think it is the same as banning all journalists or coverage of the team since Fergie does speak to Sky, ITV and anyone else that may ask. An quite why we need to always hear the manager after a game is beyond me it always just amounts to “oh yes we played well, some things could be changed and played well/badly and well done that we won or we must try harder to win the next day”

  • Keith Browning 9th Aug '10 - 10:01pm

    ….. and if they put several of these cartoons together into time order they could make a comic strip ………….. ‘Sammy of the Saints’ … possibly.. …………. then maybe a series of comic strips with different characters into a weekly journal….. Whizzo …… might be a good title.

    I claim the idea and the royalties please.

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