Agencies' sports group on lookout for members

Johnson: chairs NAPA-SG

The new group within the National Association of Press Agencies formed to represent sports photographers and writers is looking for members – inside or outside NAPA.

NAPA Sport Group currently has around 25 members and was formed to negotiate jointly with a number of governing bodies in sport over the issues of licensing and accreditation.

NAPA-SG had its first meeting before Easter to outline the group’s aims and objectives, and to discuss the first major task – to renegotiate with Football DataCo, the company set up by the Premier League and the Football League, the photographic licence and journalistic accreditation agreements, both of which are due for discussion this summer.

The group will also look at the increasing attempts by other sports’ governing bodies, such as tennis, golf and rugby, to limit or restrict what sports photographers and writers are able to do at major events.

Whereas photographers and writers had previously negotiated separately with the football authorities, NAPA members felt that a combined approach would be more sensible, and this move has been welcomed by Football DataCo. Although the NAPA-SG comes under the auspices of NAPA and both are chaired by Chris Johnson of Mercury Press, it may become a standalone body in the future.

Members range from individual freelances to national agencies such as Action Images, Getty and Hayters Teamwork, and Johnson is keen to encourage more to join.

“We welcome NAPA members and non-members alike, and the more we have, the greater the representation. We are writing to the Premier League to outline our aims,” he said.

A seven-man executive has been elected, comprising Johnson, Gerry Cox of Hayters Teamwork, Lee Martin of Getty Images, James Pinniger of Action Images, Mark Leech of Offside, Tommy Hindley of Professional Sport and Derek Bellis of Raymonds.

Cox is also chairman of the Football Writers’ Association, involved in successful negotiations two years ago to resist Football DataCo’s attempts to impose on journalists the same sort of restrictive licence that had been introduced for photographers.

NAPA-SG plans to meet monthly. To find out more, you should e-mail chrisjohnson@mercurypress.co.uk.

By Jean Morgan

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