The Sun has ended a four-week boycott against coverage of all Rugby League games after its reporter was barred from attending one of the sport’s biggest events of the year in Liverpool last month.
Gary Carter, who freelances for the Sun alongside his staff job at the Stalybridge Correspondent and its Mancunian sister titles, was denied entry to Anfield for the Super League Magic Weekend on 25 and 26 May.
- June 6, 2019
- August 1, 2018
- June 20, 2017
The annual event sees all 12 league teams play a round of matches across one weekend, hosted this year at Anfield Stadium, home of Liverpool FC, after four years at St James’ Park in Newcastle.
Sun journalists have been banned from attending LFC matches and press conferences at Anfield since 2017 over the newspaper’s 1989 “The Truth” splash which wrongly alleged appalling behaviour by the club’s fans during the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed 96 lives.
A widespread boycott of The Sun remains in place in the city, backed by councillors.
Carter was refused entry to the Magic Weekend after organisers the Super League, the sport’s top flight, submitted its press accreditation requests to Anfield where a red flag was put against his name.
Carter declined to comment for this story but tweeted last week: “A governing body should be in charge of its own accreditation regardless of the venue. It’s nothing more than that.”
Press Gazette understands Carter was offered ways to cover the games from outside the stadium, such as press conference material in advance and a live TV screen, but the Sun decided to stop covering the sport on 25 May.
Press Gazette understands Sun head of sport Shaun Custis decided to end the boycott yesterday after meeting with a Super League representative.
Rugby League, the governing body of the sport, is also understood to have entered into a dialogue with the Sun as the newspaper’s boycott covered the whole sport and not just Super League games.
The newspaper wanted a guarantee it will be able to enter all RFL matches in future, however it will not be known until the autumn whether next year’s Magic Weekend event will return to Anfield, which would pose the same problem as long as LFC’s ban on the Sun continues.
Carter has since confirmed on Twitter that he will be back in the Rugby League press box for matches.
Picture: Action Images/Craig Brough