Warning: Unknown: Unable to allocate memory for pool. in Unknown on line 0 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/index.php on line 17 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-blog-header.php on line 12 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-load.php on line 29 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-config.php on line 107 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 21 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 22 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 23 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 64 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 65 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 8 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 66 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 67 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 68 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 69 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/pomo/mo.php on line 10 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/pomo/translations.php on line 10 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/pomo/mo.php on line 11 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/load.php on line 327 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/load.php on line 329 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/db.php on line 24 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/load.php on line 405 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/object-cache.php on line 19 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 82 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 86 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 87 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/ms-settings.php on line 14 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/ms-settings.php on line 15 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 99 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 105 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 106 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 107 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 108 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 109 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 110 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 111 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 112 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 113 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 114 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 115 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 116 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 117 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 118 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 119 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 120 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 121 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 122 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 123 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 124 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 125 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 126 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 127 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 128 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 129 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 130 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 131 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 132 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 133 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 134 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 135 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/script-loader.php on line 25 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/script-loader.php on line 28 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/script-loader.php on line 31 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/script-loader.php on line 34 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-includes/script-loader.php on line 37 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 136 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 137 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 138 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 139 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 140 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 141 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 143 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 144 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 145 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 146 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 147 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 151 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 152 Warning: require(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 153 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/mu-plugins/helpers.php on line 4 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/mu-plugins/helpers.php on line 5 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 162 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/mu-plugins/widgets.php on line 3 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/mu-plugins/widgets.php on line 4 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/mu-plugins/widgets.php on line 5 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/mu-plugins/widgets.php on line 6 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/mu-plugins/widgets.php on line 7 Warning: require_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/mu-plugins/widgets.php on line 8 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-settings.php on line 169 Warning: include_once(): Unable to allocate memory for pool. in /opt/blogs/wp-content/plugins/akismet/akismet.php on line 49 Should English clubs charge journalists to speak with players and coaches? | Counter Attack | Blogs | theScore.com

Queens Park Rangers' new manager Mark Hughes poses for photos after a press conference at the club's Loftus Road stadium in west London

This Tweet was making the rounds among several football journalists today:

It outlines Newcastle’s new media strategy, which involves charging journalists for “exclusive” interviews with players. This is the latest in a long line of moves from both the Premier League and its member clubs to restrict or charge for access under the guise of protecting its product. For better or worse, many in English football regard media coverage as a proprietary issue.

To someone in North America, particularly the US, this might seem bizarre. Perhaps it’s the combination of a constitutional guarantee of press freedoms and centrally-run professional leagues with long-standing traditions of press access, but the idea of charging news outlets to speak with players appears not only strange, but repugnant.

Intuitively, it makes perfect sense to let reporters into the club to do their job. All newspapers have sports sections, sports is news, sports reporters are at least expected to follow the same ethical guidelines in reporting as their A section counterparts (insert Daily Mail joke here)—why not grant them the access in the name of press freedom?

Yet it’s still difficult to see, on first glance, a legal basis for football clubs in England—most of which are privately owned and operated—to grant press access wherever possible. Private companies aren’t obliged to hold press conferences for example, or answer journalist questions. Freedom of the press in practice means allowing journalists to openly report the news without interference (unless the reporting is defamatory), and holding public institutions like courts, governments, and publicly-funded companies open and accountable to the press. It doesn’t mean forcing private persons or companies to hold press conferences.

Many sports journalists know this, but they argue that it’s in the clubs’ best interests to let the media promote their product to the public. It’s not certain however the Premier League agrees, and in some ways both the PL and clubs view accredited journalists and photographers as just another content provider alongside blogs, betting sites, and aggregators.

Moreover, both clubs and the league know that football helps sells papers, and so they see access as a quid pro quo thing—we’ll let you come into the club and talk to players and the manager if you respect our content agreements with third-party content providers (hence the Premier League’s restrictions on live blogging and publishing match and player data for accredited reporters, thanks to Tom Dart for the link). They also see no problem in picking and choosing which reporters they will let in the building, and have geared rules on media access to primarily benefit rights holders, ie broadcasters.

Meanwhile, managers like Arsene Wenger have been openly critical of his club’s responsibility to speak with the same broadcast media who indirectly pay his clubs millions of pounds in rights fees. The idea that they would extend this apparent privilege to newspapers is laughable.

None of this is, in my opinion, a good thing. Despite the fact they’re often privately owned, football clubs are very much a public, community-based institution. Perhaps one of the more compelling arguments for supporters owning football clubs is the attendant responsibility to be publicly accountable to the media, rather than trying to hoover up every possible pound from the press.