Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has labelled sports journalists “bad boys” by claiming they are not publishing stories about football scandals for fear of ruining their relationships with clubs.
MacKenzie’s criticism comes after the Daily Telegraph exposed former England football manager Sam Allardyce offering advice to businessmen on how to “get around” FA rules on player transfers in an apparent breach of the sporting body’s regulations.
Writing in his column for the Sun, MacKenzie said the “sports mafia” had been keeping Allardyce’s secrets “safe for years”.
He said: “They [sports journalists] have been hearing this type of stuff for years and yet have never written a word about it for fear that it will ruin their cosy relationship with players, managers and owners.
“Can I explain something to them. They are not PRs for the clubs. They are supposed to be disclosing to readers, viewers and listeners what is really going on in football.
“Better to be banned from the ground than to not do your well-paid job properly.”
Some football clubs are known to blacklist journalists and publications that print unfavourable coverage about them.
MacKenzie also attacked sports journalists for being “more interested in the books they ghost-write and the size of their Twitter following than blowing the whistle”.
He added: “Writers… spend their entire time hanging around radio studios giving their views about Allardyce and Co but not once disclosing important questionable information they have picked up on the grapevine.”