Southampton finally get the picture
So it seems Southampton
have finally let go of their ridiculous photography ban.
For anyone who missed it, the Saints
effectively banned all press photographers from St Mary’s – with the idea of
having their own pictures taken at games and then sold to whoever wanted them,
ie local and national newspapers.
They own the image rights, they should own
all the images and directly get the benefit – that was their argument.
Now, while the money is one issue of
course, there is a huge amount of integrity lost when a club holds such
Put it like this – pitch invasions,
calamitous mistakes by players, any negative incident. Pictures may be taken of
them – but is the club really going to offer them for sale if they even hint at
a negative connotation for the club?
Southampton wanted an agency to take the pictures – but none felt the ban was justified,
and turned the club down.
And I would imagine no one bought any pictures
from the opening games either. Instead, visiting papers mocked up Subbuteo and cartoon
images to get around the lack of photos, while The Sun refused to name Southampton in their match report. Brilliant.
Apparently the ban has now been quietly
lifted and normal service can resume – while I’m sure a lot of other league
clubs were wondering how the experiment would work out from afar.
The thing is, these issues are not going to
go away and will probably only get worse.
Access to footballers and the clubs
diminishes every season – and all clubs, this is – as they look to make money
out of news.
Our PinkUn.com coverage is another example.
A harmless, innovative way of covering football deemed to endanger the leagues’
and clubs’ intellectual property rights. Does any other sport manage such tight controls on what is actually a public event?
The solution should be issuing web coverage licences, not
banning professional and independent media outlets from covering the game
There are heavy restrictions on when we can
tweet during games using DataCo’s nine permitted windows, but that is
spreading beyond matches too. Manchester United and Millwall, to name two clubs,
also ask journalists not to tweet from their pre-match press conferences.
Maybe we just won’t get press conferences
any more – rather anodyne press releases from a club with some preset questions on how good
the respective club is all the time.
Want to hear what Sir Alex Ferguson thinks
about Wayne Rooney’s recent antics? Wouldn’t happen.
Where this ends up is anyone’s guess, and
it will never help relationships between a club and both the national and local
But the one thing Southampton’s
little experiment proves is that it will never be entirely one way traffic.
And that has to be the case – for the good
of the game, the clubs and their fans, above all else.
posted on 13 September 2010 00:16 byMichael Bailey - Sportsdesk