BBC Scotland bury Rangers hatchet as partner makes press pass claim

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BBC Scotland bury Rangers hatchet as partner makes press pass claim

BBC Scotland and Rangers have finally buried the hatchet to bring an end to a long-running dispute that stretches back close one decade ago.

The BBC released a statement confirming that the two parties had moved to “resolve the dispute” with Rangers confirming that BBC Scotland will return to Ibrox reporting duties this season.

It should bring to an an end years of frustrating and embittered coverage of Rangers from within BBC Scotland and finally extinguish a negative culture of reportage that has tarnished the game north of the border.

“A disagreement between BBC Scotland and Rangers FC has limited the BBC’s ability to report from Ibrox Stadium over a long period of time,” reads a BBC Scotland statement.

“The BBC and Rangers FC have now agreed that it is in the best interests of the BBC’s audiences and Rangers supporters everywhere for the BBC and the club to resolve the dispute and to provide the fullest possible coverage of all Rangers’ matches.

“The BBC is committed to reporting the Scottish Premiership fully and fairly across all clubs.

“However, it recognises that the club has genuine concerns about the accuracy and balance of some coverage.

“The BBC acknowledges that there have been occasions when parts of the coverage of Rangers FC have not met its editorial standards. It has apologised for those instances and is happy to repeat those apologies now.
“We now look forward to a positive ongoing relationship with the club.”

Rangers would respond with a brief statement of their own.

“We acknowledge the recognition of past errors and the apology from BBC Scotland and the recent apology from Michael Stewart,” reads the Rangers statement.

“Reporting of football matches at Ibrox will recommence at the beginning of season 2022/23.”

BBC Scotland to return to Rangers coverage from next season

For Rangers fans who have been left confused by the entire saga, here’s a brief synopsis of what went on to bring things to this point.

Specifically, BBC Scotland stopped sending reporters to Ibrox in 2015 when Rangers revoked the press rights of leading Beeb journalist Chris McLaughlin.

This was in response to what Rangers viewed as unfair coverage in the aftermath for the club’s 6-2 win over Hibs in Mark Warburton’s first game in charge, where McLaughlin is accused of unfairly focusing on arrests and being unfairly negative.

BBC Scotland would stand in solidarity with the journalist and have since refused to cover Rangers games until McLaughlin’s press rights were reinstated.

According to Follow, Follow editor Mark Dingwall, whose platform was a media partner at Ibrox last season, McLaughlin will still not be welcome at the stadium.

Speaking on the Forum, Dingwall is led to believe “the nearest he will get is the roundabout”.

This is after he said “apart from one” when asked if all BBC journalists would be welcome back at Ibrox.

This would suggest Chris McLaughlin will not be back at Ibrox.

Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images

The situation with McLaughlin was the tip of the iceberg and came amid a series of clashes between the Ibrox club and the national broadcaster.

In 2011 the BBC were forced to apologise after cutting an interview with then manager Ally McCoist to look like he didn’t take sectarianism seriously. Rangers withdrew co-operation with the BBC not long after due to “repeated difficulties”.

Chief sportswriter Tom English was lambasted by Rangers officials for suggesting fans were making up reports of a crush at Rugby Park in the first match of season 19/20.

Outspoken pundit Michael Stewart was also suspended for comments he made on a leading BBC radio show about ex-Rangers PR chief Jim Traynor, accusing him making up stories of racism allegedly aimed at Gers striker Alfredo Morelos.

Rangers shareholders Club 1872 have openly criticised what they view as an “anti-Rangers culture” within BBC Scotland.

The broadcaster even once had to apologise after sharing an image of Rangers player Ryan Jack’s severed head in 2018.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Rangers fans can now look forward to unbiased and balanced coverage of the Ibrox side and all other SPFL clubs heading into next season for the first time in a long time.

Let’s hope all involved can grow and evolve past petty grievances and help promote the game more effectively for the good of all the clubs in the country.

By the same token, Rangers are not a special case and can expect plenty of fair comment and robust criticism where it is due.

Meanwhile, a former Rangers manager was back at Ibrox this week as part of the club’s pre-season preparations.

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