A League One football team has “banned” a newspaper over reports said to have had a “destabilising effect” on the club.
The Derbyshire Times ran coverage about financial issues with Chesterfield FC’s Player Progression Pathway (PPP) football development school and International Academy, owned by the club’s chief executive Chris Turner and director Liam Sutcliffe.
In a statement Chesterfield FC, known as the Spireites, said the coverage had prompted complaints from sponsors, commercial partners, suppliers and an educational provider.
Johnston Press-owned weekly title the Times is the latest publication to fall victim to a club media ban.
In January the Bury Free Press was blocked from covering Needham Market FC because club manager Mark Morsley took issue with the newspaper over its reporting.
Last year, Rangers FC banned the Daily Record as well as a Times columnist and a BBC correspondent from covering matches and press conferences, prompting a boycott from the corporation. Gillingham Town and Swindon Town also imposed bans.
Chesterfield FC claimed the Times had been absent from match games and pre-match conferences throughout “most of last season” and that despite “attempts (…) to maintain a good working relationship with the newspaper” there had been a “breakdown”.
As a result, the club said it is “unfortunately no longer in a position to agree to requests from the newspaper for interviews with players, management and other key personnel”.
A spokeswoman from the Times said she did not believe the ban to be “in any way justified” and hoped the club would reconsider.
She said: “The Derbyshire Times devotes several pages of column inches every week to coverage of the Spireites – our website also carries dozens of stories, interviews and columns.
“We do not set out to be either positive or negative, we simply intend to report on the Spireites fairly, accurately and without fear or favour.
“Having said that anyone reviewing the Time’s coverage will see the majority is overwhelmingly positive so we are disappointed the club has taken this stance.
“We have covered recent developments at the PPP – although that organisation is not part of the club – and we feel it was entirely legitimate to cover the issues raised.”
She added the newspaper had covered “every game last season and every press conference” and that the paper’s coverage of the Spireites had increased over the last four years to four dedicated pages and daily web updates.