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Reporter barred from press box after critical story

A regional press football reporter was denied access to the press box at an away game after a critical article he wrote when a match had to be postponed due to heavy snow.

The Press’ York City reporter Dave Flett was refused a press pass for the team’s away match at Luton Town on Tuesday because the club deemed a report he wrote ‘inflammatory’.

His article in December referred to the clash between the two Blue Square Bet Premier sides which was abandoned due to snow, with Dave arguing it should have been called off earlier by Luton Town because it took many fans 12 hours to get home.

But after being told he would not be welcome to attend the rematch, he decided to sit with the York fans in the away end of the Kenilworth Road ground to ensure he could file a report.

Dave said: “I was very disappointed to be declined admission into the press box at Kenilworth Road, especially having worked there on so many occasions in the past as one of the local press pack.

“I stand by the sentiment in my article on the original game and still believe, considering the severe weather warnings in place, more could and should have been done by Luton Town and the referee to consider an early postponement.”

Steve Hughes, editor of The Press, said he was very surprised at the stance taken by Luton Town.

He said: “Dave is a well respected sports reporter and he gave his honestly held opinion after it took York fans 12 hours to return from a game that many felt should have been called off hours earlier due to the atrocious weather.

“Luton said they would be happy for another reporter to cover last night’s game, but that misses the point. We have a duty to York City fans and it is not for football clubs to decide who covers their matches.

“They have every right to disagree with Dave’s opinion but trying to ban him from the ground smacks of censorship and that’s not acceptable. I am delighted he managed to file his reports anyway.”

Luton Town had not responded to requests for a comment at the time of publication.