Meeting likely over football writers' ban on women guests

The beleaguered Scottish Football Writers Association is expected to call an extraordinary general meeting to discuss its ban on women guests attending its annual dinner.

Although the SFWA’s office-bearers have not spoken on the record since the decision to continue the ban was approved by 21 votes to 20 at its AGM, Press Gazette understands that 10 fully paid members are prepared to call for an EGM within the next few weeks.

The association’s ban on women guests has been greeted with disapproval and continues to make headlines in a number of broadsheets.

Tennent Caledonian Breweries, who sponsor SFWA events, including the dinner, has declared that it will honour its obligations for the coming dinner in May, but will not review its fouryear contract which runs out in 2004 unless the association lifts the ban.

It is believed that the tough talking from Tennents has persuaded the SFWA that its stand must be reviewed.

A Tennents spokesman said it had had a “constructive meeting” with the SFWA where “we reinforced our position and agreed to work with them to find a speedy resolution to this issue”.

The ongoing ban has been condemned by the NUJ and the Equal Opportunities Commission. Herald editor Mark Douglas-Home has told his sportswriters, who include SFWA president Ian Paul and treasurer Ewing Grahame, that they are free to attend the dinner in a private capacity but not to represent the paper.

By Hamish Mackay

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