Scotland soccer manager Bertie Vogts banned his players from giving interviews to Sky Television in the run-up to the Euro 2004 qualifier against Germany in Glasgow on Saturday.
Vogts is incensed by what he sees as unwarranted criticism from Sky experts – especially former Scotland internationals Charlie Nicholas and Davie Provan.
The ban has angered Sky executives who are one-quarter way through a four-year £27m deal with the Scottish Football Association, which gives them exclusive rights to cover Scotland’s international matches and Scottish Cup ties.
Sky were told of the ban in a letter from Andy Mitchell, the head of the SFA press office, telling them on Vogts’ behalf that co-operation from the coach, his players and backroom staff had been withdrawn.
The letter claimed that the level of access enjoyed by Sky “had not been reciprocated by fair comment, particularly from Provan and Nicholas”, and, consequently, Sky would need to make do with covering all-in press conferences.
Provan and Nicholas have been consistently critical of Vogts on air and in their columns in Scottish newspapers.
By Hamish Mackay