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Football club defends regional daily photo ban

The football club at the centre of a row after it banned press photographers has sought to defend its continuing refusal to allow entry to snappers from a regional daily.

Southampton Football Club refused to accredit any press photographers at the start of the season for home games and is still not allowing those from the Southern Daily Echo to attend – despite lifting the ban for other media.

Earlier this week, editor Ian Murray said he was disappointed his photographers remain barred from St Mary’s Stadium and said the club had offered no explanation.

Now the club has explained the reasons for its ban, saying it believes the Echo has breached its Football League accreditation licence – a claim denied by the paper.

Club spokesman Jordan Sibley said photographers from the regional daily were allowed access for the home game against Tranmere in October but had not been accepted since.

He told HTFP: “After the Tranmere match on 9th October we were informed by DataCo – the company who manage the Football League’s accreditation process – that they were publishing photos obtained at our matches on their website.

“These images had no protection surrounding them, meaning individuals, including non-accredited organisations, were able to download the images for their own use.

“This, we were informed, is a breach of their licence, hence their applications have ceased to be accepted in recent weeks.”

But Ian said: “Our understanding is that we are not in breach of the DataCo rulings or they would ban us from all matches.”

He said there had been five home games since the ban was lifted for other newspapers and agencies and the Echo had only been allowed in for the Tranmere one – with it still not being told the reasons for the ban.

Ian added the paper would now contact DataCo to seek clarification.