Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Rangers switch off relations with BBC over documentary row

A BBC investigation into Craig Whyte’s takeover of Rangers has sparked the Scottish league leaders to pull the plug on its relationship with the broadcaster.



The documentary, entitled ‘Rangers — the Inside Story’, has caused fury at Ibrox ahead of its scheduled screening tomorrow evening, with the club branding it as ‘little more than a prejudiced muckraking exercise.’

It’s the second time this season that Rangers and the BBC have fallen out and there is also a lengthy history of managers refusing to conduct interviews with the company.

Only recently Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson agreed to speak to the BBC after a seven-year period, following allegations against his son Jason in a television documentary.

Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp also went through a spell when they blanked post-match interviews on Match of the Day after a BBC investigation into transfer bungs back in 2006 made accusations against both men.

Redknapp’s rift with the BBC healed, however, to such an extent that he was a member of their World Cup panel in South Africa.

Rangers withdrew co-operation with the BBC following a news report on sectarianism ahead of the opening weekend of the SPL season, before a BBC apology ended the impasse.

McCoist, a former team captain on the BBC’s Question of Sport quiz show, was “appalled” that his response to another question, which showed him smiling, had been inserted.

A statement on the club's official website read: “Rangers Football Club is withdrawing all co-operation with the BBC as of today.

“The decision has been taken due to the repeated difficulties the club has encountered with the BBC this season.

“The club was forced earlier in the season to suspend co-operation with the BBC over its serious misrepresentation of the club manager's position on violence and sectarianism.

“There have also been other instances where the BBC's reporting on the club's affairs has been neither accurate or fair.

“Furthermore, over the last few weeks the BBC has been involved in making a documentary about the club which appears to be little more than a prejudiced muckraking exercise.

“Efforts to ensure that reporting of the club's affairs should be balanced and fair appear to have been in vain.

“The club believes that the BBC has on a number of occasions now demonstrated a pre-determined negative attitude towards Rangers and its fans and its journalism has fallen well short of acceptable standards.”

However, the BBC strongly rejected claims of bias against the club and insisted the content of the programme was accurate and in the public interest.

Meanwhile on the pitch Rangers beat Liverpool 1-0 in a friendly at Ibrox last night.

Lee McCulloch’s strike settled the game, in which the Gers used 20 players.

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