Financial Times to scrap sport and cut pagination

The Financial Times is to cease sports coverage as part of ongoing cutbacks and cut the pagination of its UK edition, it confirmed today.

Sports business will still be covered, and one sports column – by award-winning author Simon Kuper – will remain on Saturdays.

But sports reporting, limited to Mondays and weekends since an April 2007 redesign, will stop.

The UK edition of the paper will shrink by two pages, but the FT‘s four other international editions will keep their current pagination.

A Financial Times spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that the FT plans to stop publishing its weekly sports page on Saturday 14 February as part of a strategy to focus on our core strengths.

“We will, of course, continue to cover the business of sport, as well as major sporting events and Simon Kuper’s weekly column will also be moving to a new home.”

In the Nineties, the FT’s sports coverage increased, and big name writers were recruited. But, since Lionel Barber was appointed in November 2005, it has been cut back.

The FT had no dedicated sports reporters, according to the Sports Journalists Association, and features sub-editor Charles Morris, who also subbed sport, will not be affected by the cuts.

But contributing freelances, including Huw Richards, Graham Otway, and Pat Butcher, will be.

The FT is looking to cut about 80 staff, including 20 journalists, in a cost-cutting drive.

Last month, staff held a protest day – attended by Tony Benn – after nine compulsory redundancies were threatened. A consultation is ongoing.

The Financial Times increased its weekday cover price from £1.50 to £1.80 in November – its second rise in less than a year.

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