UK news organisations sign new three-year access deal with football leagues

A coalition of news organisations have signed a new contract with English football leagues, which provides a platform to discuss journalist access issues. (Picture: Reuters)

The News Media Coalition announced yesterday that its contract with the Premier League and Football League has been renewed.

The NMC – which represents most the UK's major national newspapers and international news agencies – said the new contract represents an "upgrade" on the previous agreement, made in 2011.

NMC executive director Andrew Moger told Press Gazette: "[The old agreement] didn't provide in any respect for questions of access to be considered.

"But given what's happened with certain clubs, the exclusion of certain titles and journalists, we agreed with the leagues that there should be opportunities during the course of the season to raise these sorts issues."

In recent weeks, English clubs Newcastle United, Swindon Town and Blackpool have all been accused of shutting out journalists.

Asked when the first opportunity to raise issues would be, Moger said: "Unless those exclusions are resolved bilaterally, and we should give that time to work through, we will want to take this up at the earliest opportunity."

He added: "What we're saying here is that football as a whole, and the news industry as represented by us, should have platforms for talking calmly about these issues – rather than them becoming vexed."

Announcing the new agreement, the NMC said:

The News Media Coalition has agreed with the Premier League and Football League the conditions for journalist access, news-gathering and content generation at their matches for the next three seasons. This means arrangements for NMC Members have improved when it comes to the way photographers and reporters cover Premier League and Football League matches and the conditions under which news material can be published and distributed.

The agreement takes into account the fast-moving digital media environment while at the same time respecting the clubs commercial and media partnerships. NMC Executive Director Andrew Moger believes that the agreement strikes the right balance between the legitimate business of editorial-based press, publishing and distribution on the one hand and the leagues’ and clubs’ own services on the other.’ 

The agreement signed by the NMC, its Member news companies and the leagues states: ‘These accreditation terms are the product of negotiations between the Premier League and The Football League and the News Media Coalition, an international trade association that works on behalf of publishers and news agencies to seek best practice editorial, press and publishing arrangements relating to major sporting events.’

Moger said: ‘The NMC represents some of the biggest news brands around, and we recognised the need for our agreement to reflect the fast-moving digital media environment.’

The new deal means that for NMC Members (newspapers and agencies) more photos can be published during matches, required delays on digital content are significantly reduced, and in a number of respect, Members can work to a set of rules which for them are more relevant to digital realities and consumer expectations. Also as part of the deal, the news media companies, the NMC and leagues have agreed to work together to consider issues which arise during the period of the agreement.

The NMC represents the UK-based publishers of most national newspaper print publications and digital platforms as well as major news and photographic agencies such as the Press Association, Thomson Reuters, Associated Press, Getty Images, Agence France-Presse, Deutsche Presse-Agentur and the European Pressphoto Agency’ (‘epa’). 

An agreed joint statement released today (11th August) reads: ‘Both parties are pleased to have agreed new access and accreditation arrangements for the next three seasons. These take into account the evolving media landscape as well as the requirements of the leagues and their member clubs. This has been achieved on a constructive basis and we look forward to working together in the coming years.’

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