Southampton FC Bans Photographers; Newspaper Employs Cartoonist

sport photography, photography ban, freedom of photographers, UK press photography ban, Diana Topan, Photography News,, photo news, press photo news, photojournalism news, freedom of pressAugust 10, 2010 /PN/ England's Southampton Football Club recently decided to restrict access for photographers at its games in the new season, meaning outlets would have to buy "official" pictures.

As a result of the move, the Plymouth Herald editor Bill Martin asked artist Chris Robinson, a historian and lifelong Plymouth fan, to provide sketches of the League One side's 1-0 win at St Mary's stadium on Saturday, after the newspaper refused to buy official photographs.

The two cartoons, in the style of comic strip favorite Roy of the Rovers, depicted Luke Summerfield's winning goal as well as a save by Plymouth keeper David Button.

"The Herald was left with a prospect of just taking pictures from an agency,'' said Robinson.

"I was watching the game on TV and took a sketch book with me. I have never done anything like this before, I have never known it happen before.

"I would have no aversion to doing it again. It was a great result," he added.

The club’s original plan was to deny photographers press credentials for the new season, insisting that all news outlets negotiate for images from home games with Digital South, but Digital South owner Robin Jones told the U.K. newspaper The Guardian over the weekend that he declined the deal.

"I disagreed with their stance on a total ban of photographers from any media source," Jones said in a statement.

"I voiced this opinion to the club and genuinely thought that the ban would not take place. It became clear to me on Thursday that this ban was indeed happening and so I rang the club to inform them of my decision to decline their offer."

Herald editor Bill Martin said restricting access for photographers was a "serious restriction" for press freedom.

"If professional sports clubs want to... restrict the press's access to reporting their matches, little by little the press are going to report their matches less and less," he said.

"The first people to suffer will be the fans... and the next people to suffer after that will be the sponsors.

"A decision like this also damages the image of football as a whole."


  1. nelly says

    is it just my imagination or the freedom of photographers in the uk is in decline?

    Anonymous says

    Weird. I live in Middle East and I am used to these things, but I thought England is much different in this.

    Mo Takes Photos says

    Hey at least u got the ball in the shot

    alexander says

    the free press is only as free as we make it

    ian clegg says

    great response to a problem, using this brilliant idea of an illustration rather than ranting and raving about the clubs ignorant decision. Why not carry on with the cartoon style? I bet it increases the readership. Well done!

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