The NUJ has condemned Manchester United’s decision to cut the number of photographers allowed to cover matches at Old Trafford, and the club’s move to launch its own picture agency (Press Gazette, 22 August).
The union warned that if other clubs followed suit, some freelance photographers and agencies could be forced out of business.
NUJ freelance organiser John Toner said: “Although football matches are played on private premises, they are public events. It is in the public interest that press photographers are given access in order that coverage is varied and impartial. “If these moves go unchallenged, it is only a matter of time before United ban all agencies from their ground and distribute their own pictures. How long before we see the same shot on every sports page on a Sunday morning? “If that happens, you can be sure it will not be a shot of Alex Ferguson reacting angrily to a bad decision.”
The NUJ is seeking talks with the club involving all organisations representing photographers and agencies.