Agencies warn of India-England coverage halt

Updated 13 November 2012
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Agencies warn of India-England coverage halt

NEW DELHI: International news agencies, including AFP, warned Tuesday they may be forced to suspend coverage of the Test cricket series between India and England to protest restrictions imposed by authorities.
The News Media Coalition, which represents a group of media organizations, “deplored” a decision by the Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI) to bar photo agencies such as Getty Images and Action Images and urged it to rethink.
Any suspension would deprive millions of cricket fans of coverage of one of the most-eagerly anticipated series of the year, which starts on Thursday.
“In our view, the BCCI’s move will hit fans and cricket sponsors alike,” said Andrew Moger, the executive director of the London-based coalition.
“The BCCI has offered to make its own photographs available but this is no substitute for independent and objective press photography.” While accreditation has only been withheld from photo agencies, other news organizations fear the move sets a dangerous precedent.
“Despite numerous opportunities, the BCCI has yet to explain why it is discriminating against photographic agencies or indeed whether other news sectors will be targeted,” said Moger, whose organization campaigns against reporting restrictions.
“We deplore this move and insult to organizations which have supported cricket worldwide.” In a statement, Agence France-Presse said the agency would not provide text and photo coverage of the four-Test series unless the matter could be resolved ahead of the series.
The agency said it “strongly believes the right of the media to cover news events without undue restrictions should be protected,” adding it hoped “the BCCI will lift its policy so news media and fans can continue to get independent coverage.”
Reuters and the Associated Press also said they may be forced to suspend coverage.
BCCI media manager Devendra Prabhudesai said the board was not seeking to bar news agencies.
“The BCCI has a policy not to accredit photo syndication services like Getty Images and other similar foreign and domestic agencies,” he said.
“We have no such problems with AFP, AP or Reuters since their text and photo service is for editorial use only. We have already explained our stand to the News Media Coalition.” The accreditation dispute is the latest between the BCCI and media organizations in the build-up to the series.
Satellite broadcaster Sky, which holds the British rights to the series, is set to commentate from its London headquarters off a live picture feed rather than pay a reported additional 500,000 pounds ($795,000) to the BCCI.
The BBC however has reached an agreement with the BCCI to broadcast live from the venues after the Indian board reportedly demanded an extra 50,000 pounds in addition to the already-agreed fee for the rights to cover broadcast costs.


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 20 April 2018
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Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #Wenger Out believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.