The Daily and Sunday Mirror remain banned from Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge ground in a long-running stand-off with club chairman Ken Bates.
Bates has vowed: “The only way the ban will be lifted is when Des Kelly [deputy editor of the Daily Mirror] apologises.”
Sports reporters from the papers have been unable to enter the ground’s press box for 18 months after Bates objected to a story in the Daily Mirror following an appearance by him on Sky TV. According to the Mirror, Bates made a crass Jewish gag.
The Sunday Mirror ban appears to have been “collateral damage” and no fault of the newspaper.
A spokeswoman for Bates alleged Kelly had waged “a personal vendetta” against the chairman since the autumn of 2001.
“The Mirror ran an article naming the chairman as a racist,” she said.
Kelly said the newspapers covered Chelsea’s matches anyway.
“I think newspapers are in a position where we can either toe the line with these people or we can say ‘hang on, we are an independent voice – we’ll cover your club as we see fit.’
“If it becomes a vendetta on the part of an individual who wants to bully a newspaper, we will do exactly what we would do to any bully – we will stand up to them.”
By Jean Morgan