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BBC boycotts Ibrox after Rangers imposes ban on journalists

By Jenny Kirkham

Rangers Football Club has given no extensive explanation as to why it has imposed bans on two well-known sports journalists.

Graham Spiers, a columnist for The Times and the BBC's Chris McLaughlin are 'mystified' as to why they have been told to stay away from Ibrox stadium - home of Rangers FC.

In response to the unexplained ban, the BBC has launched a boycott on Ibrox stadium. The broadcaster will  not be sending journalists to the club's matches or press conferences.

Spiers told Press Gazette that he thinks the club have been very hostile and poisonous on their rise back up to the second tier of Scottish Football.

Liquidating the club in 2012 meant Rangers was demoted to the fourth tier of the league.

Spiers said: "I've been very critical of Rangers over the years - I think totally justifiably,"

A spokesperson for Rangers FC told the Sunday Maill that they did not take the decision to ban McLaughlin lightly.

They added: “The BBC don’t seem to be ­applying proper checks and rules within their sports department.

“At the game you had police praising both sets of fans but he led on the fact Rangers could be in trouble because two people were arrested."

Channel 4 political correspondent Michael Crick took to Twitter to state that banning reporters in times of poor play makes clubs look weak.

Pressure is being put on the FA to intervene over persistent cases of football clubs banning journalists or enforcing unnecessary restrictions on them.

Rangers are not the first club to take this approach over negative stories. Blackpool, Newcastle United and Swindon Town have all recently banned journalists for trivial or unknown reasons.

The NUJ have written an open letter to the chairman of the Football Association, Greg Dyke asking him to condemn this kind of censorship on the press.

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