Talks break down between Premier League and media
Media coverage of the opening of the Premier League season could
be disrupted after a breakdown in talks between the league and
media groups over reporting restrictions.
The Premier League and Football League have been in negotiations
with newspapers and news agencies for several months over the terms
for coverage of matches. The Premier League kicks off on Aug.
The News Media Coalition, an international body which seeks to
protect the ability of news organizations to cover major events,
said the leagues suspended talks on Wednesday.
The coalition, whose members include The Associated Press,
Reuters, AFP, Britain’s Press Association and British newspapers,
said the leagues then circulated an interim ”access contract”
containing restrictions on editorial freedom which news
organizations had rejected at the start of discussions.
”These controls impose highly restrictive limits on the use of
news content produced at football grounds,” the group said in a
Among others things, the coalition said, the rules include
league controls on how and when news can be published online, and
how news can be distributed to fans in Britain and overseas. They
also require users of content to obtain and pay for permission from
the leagues for their coverage.
”The leagues have refused to even consider the latest proposals
and seek to impose last year’s terms by default,” the coalition
said. ”These are unacceptable to the media who have repeatedly
made this clear to the leagues.”
The media coalition said it remains committed to the talks and
is ready to resume negotiations with the leagues.
”In the absence of meaningful discussions, news organizations
are in the process of identifying how best to serve their readers
including loyal fans with independent news and analysis,” it
The AP said it was pushing for a resolution.
”We’re hopeful we can reach a sensible resolution soon so that
we can provide customers and fans throughout the world the coverage
they’ve come to expect,” said Lou Ferrara, AP’s managing editor
for sport. ”We also want to make sure that organizations can use
our coverage, or material from other outlets, without restrictions
or additional costs.”
The Premier League and the Football League, which represents the
72 clubs below the top division, said they have been negotiating in
good faith on a new agreement for media accreditation that provides
”an appropriate level of protection for their intellectual
”It has been made clear from the start that we are willing to
improve areas of the agreement that are of importance to the media
covering our matches,” the leagues said in a joint statement.
With no sign of an agreement being reached before this weekend’s
kickoff of the lower divisions, the leagues said they proposed that
the existing rules be extended on an ”interim basis” with a
seven-day termination clause until a new deal is reached.
”Unfortunately, as yet, the NPA and international agencies have
not taken up that offer which creates the possibility of disrupted
match-coverage in newspapers,” the statement said. ”This serves
nobody’s interests … We remain open to further negotiations and
are hopeful of reaching a satisfactory conclusion as soon as