A middle-ranking Premier League team is reported to have written to national newspapers demanding cash for access to players between games.
The Evening Chronicle in Newcastle claims that Newcastle United FC has told national newspapers that they must pay to interview players or receive official co-operation from the club.
The club, which has already banned the local Evening Chronicle and Journal titles from its media facilities, is looking for extra cash from the national press.
The Chronicle said the club has offered three levels of access labelled gold, silver and bronze to the national press. This will allow journalists access to the club’s players between games.
Newcastle is believed to be the first Premier League club to try and secure cash payments from the national press for insider access to the club’s players.
Under Premier League rules, clubs must hold a press conference before and after each fixture where the manager has to face the press.
However, in recent weeks, Newcastle United has refused to answer questions from several local journalists working for local newspapers as part of an ongoing row over coverage of fan discontent over the continued ownership of the club by businessman Mike Ashley.
Fans criticised Ashley for changing the name of the club’s St James Park stadium to the Sports Direct Arena. They have also been angered by the club’s shirt sponsorship deal with payday loan company Wonga.
The club was not available to comment at the time of publication.