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Sun ends boycott of Rugby League after reporter barred from Anfield event

The Sun has ended a four-week boycott against coverage of all Rugby League games after its reporter was barred from attending one of the sport’s biggest events of the year in Liverpool last month.

Gary Carter, who freelances for the Sun alongside his staff job at the Stalybridge Correspondent and its Mancunian sister titles, was denied entry to Anfield for the Super League Magic Weekend on 25 and 26 May.

The annual event sees all 12 league teams play a round of matches across one weekend, hosted this year at Anfield Stadium, home of Liverpool FC, after four years at St James’ Park in Newcastle.

Sun journalists have been banned from attending LFC matches and press conferences at Anfield since 2017 over the newspaper’s 1989 “The Truth” splash which wrongly alleged appalling behaviour by the club’s fans during the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed 96 lives.

A widespread boycott of The Sun remains in place in the city, backed by councillors.

The paper has twice apologised for its earlier coverage of the tragedy, including a front page headlined: “The Real Truth” which ran in 2012 after an inquiry into the disaster.

Carter was refused entry to the Magic Weekend after organisers the Super League, the sport’s top flight, submitted its press accreditation requests to Anfield where a red flag was put against his name.

Carter declined to comment for this story but tweeted last week: “A governing body should be in charge of its own accreditation regardless of the venue. It’s nothing more than that.”

Press Gazette understands Carter was offered ways to cover the games from outside the stadium, such as press conference material in advance and a live TV screen, but the Sun decided to stop covering the sport on 25 May.

Press Gazette understands Sun head of sport Shaun Custis decided to end the boycott yesterday after meeting with a Super League representative.

Rugby League, the governing body of the sport, is also understood to have entered into a dialogue with the Sun as the newspaper’s boycott covered the whole sport and not just Super League games.

The newspaper wanted a guarantee it will be able to enter all RFL matches in future, however it will not be known until the autumn whether next year’s Magic Weekend event will return to Anfield, which would pose the same problem as long as LFC’s ban on the Sun continues.

Carter has since confirmed on Twitter that he will be back in the Rugby League press box for matches.

Picture: Action Images/Craig Brough

Comments

9 thoughts on “Sun ends boycott of Rugby League after reporter barred from Anfield event”

  1. Another arrogant move by the SUN to dis-enfranchise its own readership at least those that follow the sport and actually buys their worthless news rag. Hopefully those readers have taken the opportunity to spend their cash on an alternative and irrespective of the end of the boycott will continue spending their hard earned money elsewhere. Just a prime example of a business that has no respect for it’s own customers but thinks it can score political points and coerce others by spitting out its dummy. The SUN is not welcome on Merseyside and never will be again. Accept that fact and remember the reason why every time the issue arises.

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