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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 3 August, 2020

Rangers director hits out at BBC Scotland's coverage of his club

Stewart Robertson accused the broadcaster of ‘vilifying’ Alfredo Morelos.

Image: Jeff Holmes

RANGERS’ MANAGING-DIRECTOR Stewart Robertson has criticised BBC Scotland’s coverage of his club, accusing the broadcaster of “vilifying” Alfredo Morelos. 

In an interview with the club’s in-house broadcaster, Robertson called for clarification surrounding the retrospective adjudication of off-the-ball incidents, and accused what he perceives to be an undue emphasis by BBC Scotland on his club of influencing the incidents reviewed by the Scottish FA. 

“The incidents that have been reviewed this season wouldn’t have been reviewed last year, or some of those incidents.

“That is leading to confusion that there is much more inconsistency and it definitely feels that we are re-refereeing games.

It also feels as though the incidents that are highlighted on the television at the weekend are the incidents which are being picked up by the compliance officer on a Monday, so I’ve heard this expression of trial by TV or trial by [BBC Scotland highlights show] Sportscene and that certainly seems to be the way it is going.

“I understand that complaints come in from all avenues but the correlation between what is shown on the television at the weekend and what is dealt with on a Monday is very high.

“Incidents are highlighted from all sorts of sources but the correlation with Sportscene is very high.

We, as a club have had our own issues with the BBC. The BBC have refused to attend Ibrox since November 2015 and the dispute has gone on for much longer than that but they’ve confirmed to us recently that they won’t come to Ibrox, and they did ask to come to Ibrox but only to cover matches.

“They wouldn’t interview the manager or the players. So if they are treating us differently in that respect, are there other areas where they are treating Rangers differently? In terms of incidents being highlighted at the weekend.

“You only have to go back to the Alfredo Morelos incident after the Old Firm game where they seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time examine Alfredo’s actions but no time at all on any other incidents from that game.

“And Morelos was effectively vilified for three weeks on various BBC platforms so the question is, if they are treating us differently and they have confirmed in writing that they are treating us differently to other Premiership clubs, where else are they treating us differently?” 

Rangers v Celtic - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Ibrox Stadium Alfredo Morelos clashes with Celtic's Ryan Christie. Source: Jeff Holmes

Footage showed Morelos becoming embroiled in a number of tetchy, off-the-ball incidents in last month’s game with Celtic, for which he did not receive a suspension. 

In a statement, BBC Scotland say they are “editorially fair” in covering Rangers, and clarified that their dispute with Rangers stretches back to the banning of BBC journalist Chris McLoughlin in August, 2015. 

“The central part of this dispute is that Rangers is continuing to operate an exceptional ban of one of our journalists.

We have offered to return to Ibrox to provide commentary, as per our contracted rights, while we try to find a permanent solution to the overall dispute, but Rangers have said this is unacceptable.

“Our coverage, including analysis and comment, is editorially fair. We will continue to speak to both Rangers and the SPFL about the situation as we believe it’s in the best interest of our audiences to restore the ability to bring commentaries from all SPFL grounds.”

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Gavin Cooney

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