Spurs assures reporters from Newcastle will be welcomed
7 November 2013
Tottenham Hotspur football club has assured the NUJ that visiting reporters will be welcome to all usual facilities at this weekend's game against Newcastle at White Hart Lane.
In response to a letter from the NUJ, the head of press at Spurs confirmed that the club would not change its usual policy. The NUJ was concerned that the club might be put under pressure from Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who has banned reporters from his club. Newcastle officials also attempted to stop selected local journalists asking questions at post-match press conference held at Sunderland AFC.
The letter to Spurs said:
"The NUJ is concerned, first and foremost, that freedom of the press is upheld and that our members can carry out their professional duties without hindrance. We believe the attitude of the owner of Newcastle is unreasonable… It is for this reason that the NUJ is requesting that Spurs does not intervene in any way and that it treats its visiting journalists in exactly the same way as it would normally do."
The Newcastle Chronicle, one of the banned newspapers, published a letter to Ashley on its front page, saying:
"The club flexed its muscles like some kind of North Korean dictatorship - hitting out at the set of newspapers that have followed the club through thick and thin since their very first game in 1892."
Chris Morley, NUJ Northern organiser, said:
"I am pleased that Spurs have moved to reassure the NUJ that its members suffering a ban by Newcastle United in their home city, will be welcomed as normal as journalists covering the visitors to White Hart Lane on Sunday. We are told they will be afforded all normal facilities and courtesies.
"There is no place for some football clubs, such as Newcastle, to take petty, vindictive actions to hinder and intimidate journalists who happen to work for media whose coverage the clubs take offence at. We call on all clubs welcoming Newcastle to their grounds while this stupid ban exists, to follow the lead of Spurs and insist that it is business as usual for visiting journalists irrespective of what differences there may be."