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Newspaper series hit by 24-hour football ground ban

A weekly newspaper series claims it was hit by a ban preventing it from attending matches at a football ground – which was then lifted less than 24 hours later.

The Times Series in North London said it was told on Tuesday evening by a press officer at Barnet Football Club that its reporters would not be allowed to cover matches at The Hive, following an article the club was unhappy about.

The ban threatened to end more than 100 years of coverage by the papers, which include the Barnet & Potters Bar Times and the Hendon & Finchley Times.

But just 20 hours later, the titles were told by the club that the ban had been lifted and their sports reporter would be welcome to report on matches.

However the club has denied that there ever was a ban and said it enjoys “an excellent working relationship” with the sportsdesk.

The dispute with the club came about after the club’s HR manager Steve Barron contacted the newsdesk to say the club’s solicitors would be taking action, following a story published last Friday.

The story claimed staff who worked at the club had been deducted money from their wages.

Group editor Martin Buhagiar said: “I was confused by the ban and left bemused when it was lifted 20 hours later. We are now trying to establish who initially banned us and who decided to lift it.

“I am sure the number of Barnet Football Club fans who took to Twitter in support of us probably helped the football club make its decision.

“The issue arose after we published an online article reporting that members of staff had been deducted pay in their monthly salary. The club refused to comment, then claimed the story was inaccurate and finally threatened legal action.

“We stand by our story and look forward to receiving the solicitor’s letter so we can finally find out what the club’s complaint is because the silence had been deafening.

“We will now continue to cover Barnet’s games home and away but will still hold the club to account when such matters arise.”

The ban also followed a number of articles by the Times Series about the concerns of fans and Edgware residents following the football club’s relocation to The Hive.

The paper said it had received complaints from the club and Harrow Borough Council but “not one inaccuracy has been identified in any of our articles.”

On Wednesday, Mr Barron wrote in an email to the Times Series that: “Barnet FC will continue to welcome your sports writer to attend and report on matches at The Hive.”

A statement on the club’s website said: “Barnet FC wish to clarify its relationship with the Barnet Times Series newspaper.

“It has been incorrectly reported that we have issued a ban on their football reporter Adam Newson. This is most definitely not the case and we will be offering our usual cordial welcome to Adam on Saturday for our game at The Hive against Nuneaton Town.

“The club enjoys an excellent working relationship with the sports department of this newspaper and this relationship is much valued by the club.

“In recent days however there have been reports emanating from the news desk of this paper that are extremely inaccurate and quite defamatory to the extent that we have sought legal advice as to our position.

“We sincerely hope that these issues can be resolved but in the meantime we are confident that the sports department will continue to provide their usual level of informed and incisive coverage of the Bees.”

It has also issued another statement seeking to explain the situation regarding staff pay, which it said was due to new “clocking in” technology not being fully operational.


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  • August 23, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Much as I think papers take an unnecessarily contentious approach to coverage of local football, it’s another sad effort from a club. I often think weak press officers are to blame, for not being able to make the hierarchy see the errors of their ways. But, then why kill the golden goose?

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  • August 23, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Next time just go in as a normal paying fan and report on the game that way.

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