Two London weekly sports editors have blasted the Football League for allocating their newspapers only one press pass each to cover the Carling Cup final between their local team Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.
The Tottenham Journal and Hampstead and Highate Express applied for two passes each to Wembley Stadium, with the aim of giving the match heavy coverage in their papers.
However, despite the one available press box being occupied by guests of the Football League and there being 25 spare seats – only one local Tottenham reporter per paper could attend on the grounds that they were weeklies.
A spokesman for the Football League, which employs Premier League agency Football Dataco to allocate the seats, said: ‘The policy is that weekly newspapers are accredited one place and in our view that was sufficient for them to be able to cover the game. Space was not a factor.’
Sports editor at the Tottenham and Wood Green Journal series, James Callow, claims that Tottenham had said it was happy for more reporters to attend, but the final decision was out of its hands.
He said: ‘It’s a slap in the face to be patronised in that way. It made covering it much harder work and it meant that there had to be a huge amount of collusion.
“It showed a complete lack of understanding about how local newspapers work, and to be told we are only a weekly when we are covering the match for the people of Tottenham; we are the local newspaper that bears the area’s name. I find their one-size fits all approach to weeklies appalling.
‘The final was certainly a bigger deal for us than some of the nationals. You have this skewed logic by these people who aren’t answerable to anyone, who are allowing a lot of the press passes to be given away to guests.”
Ham & High series sports editor Pat Mooney sent a letter of complaint to the Football League.
He said: ‘It goes without saying that we were extremely disappointed. Having done the match report I had to dash down to the mixed zone and hang around there until the players came out.
“I didn’t actually leave until 6.45pm. It’s a two-man job. We had scheduled a four-page wrap around, so we needed a couple of passes.”