Deadlock in Premier League accreditation dispute

With the Premier League football season kick-off just days away, talks to secure accreditation for news agency and newspaper journalists appear completely stalled.

Press Gazette understands that the News Media Coalition, which is negotiating on behalf of news organisations, has no fresh meetings booked with the Premier League and the Championship.

The dispute centres around a bid by the football authorities to impose controls on live online reporting.

National news agency Press Association was unable to send its reporters to cover Championship matches at the weekend as it refused to sign a new accreditation agreement.

The Independent explained that ‘in an act of solidarity”, it and other nationals agreed not to cover games.

The football authorities’ stance forced Times journalists to cover matches from the stands rather than the press box and by making use of broadcast reports.

The News Media Coalition objects to the Premier League’s insistence on the need for an end-user licence, which ultimately regulates the way information can be sold and distributed by news agencies.

It also believes that the new press accreditation agreement would curb live match reporting, online interaction between fans and journalists and the use of social media sites.

The NMC wants the agreement to be rewritten, with the end-user licence replaced to ensure content can be used more freely, and with publishing windows and restrictions on putting live stories on websites removed.

Talks between the Leagues and NMC are currently understood to be on hold.

News agency Reuters said it was ‘disappointed talks had broken down”.

A Reuter’s spokesperson said: ‘We are unable to guarantee our coverage as the proposed terms and conditions compromise our ability to properly cover and to serve the interests of our clients.

‘We encourage the English football leagues to return to the negotiating table to ensure the best possible coverage for the 2011-2012 season for sports fans and commercial partners of the football leagues.’

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