Glasgow & West Scotland

Rangers FC withdraws all co-operation with BBC

Ibrox Stadium
Image caption Rangers decision comes days before the BBC is due to air a documentary

Rangers FC has withdrawn "all co-operation" with the BBC over what it said were "repeated difficulties" with the broadcaster this season.

The Ibrox club said several instances of reporting on Rangers from the BBC had been "neither accurate or fair".

It also claimed that a BBC Scotland documentary, to be aired on Thursday, was a "prejudiced muckraking exercise".

The BBC said it denied the allegation and placed "absolute value" on its "accuracy and impartiality".

At the beginning of the Scottish football season in July, the editor of the BBC Six and Ten O'clock news apologised to Rangers over an "inappropriate edit" in a television package about the cost of policing Old Firm matches.

Previous complaint

The BBC accepted that the sequence involving comments from Rangers' manager Ally McCoist could have given the impression that he did not take the issue of violence and disorder at football matches seriously.

The latest dispute comes days before a BBC documentary on Rangers, which was taken over by businessman Craig Whyte in May.

The BBC website says the documentary, Rangers - The Inside Story, "investigates the current plight of Rangers FC, and asks what the future might hold under new owner, Craig Whyte".

A statement on the club website said: "Rangers Football Club is withdrawing all co-operation with the BBC as of today. The decision has been taken due to the repeated difficulties the club has encountered with the BBC this season.

"The club was forced earlier in the season to suspend co-operation with the BBC over its serious misrepresentation of the club manager's position on violence and sectarianism.

"There have also been other instances where the BBC's reporting on the club's affairs has been neither accurate or fair."

The statement said that the BBC had been involved in making a documentary which appeared "to be little more than a prejudiced muckraking exercise".

The statement continued: "Efforts to ensure that reporting of the club's affairs should be balanced and fair appear to have been in vain.

"The club believes that the BBC has on a number of occasions now demonstrated a pre-determined negative attitude towards Rangers and its fans and its journalism has fallen well short of acceptable standards.

"The decision to end co-operation with the BBC has been taken very reluctantly but the club feels it has been left with no other option."

In response, a BBC Scotland statement said: "Rangers FC has made a number of assertions in relation to our journalistic standards, including a claim of underlying bias against the club. We completely refute this allegation in the strongest terms.

'Public interest'

"All of our reporting of matters pertinent to the running of Rangers FC reflects the high standard expected of the BBC, an organisation that places an absolute value on the accuracy and impartiality of its journalism.

"The club has also made specific criticisms of a documentary scheduled for transmission at 19:00 on BBC One Scotland on Thursday 20 October.

"We have assured them that rigorous editorial standards will be applied and nothing will be broadcast that is not both accurate and in the public interest."

Rangers' decision came hours after former director Donald McIntyre won his legal bid to have £300,000 of the club's assets frozen pending a breach of contract case.

At the Court of Session in Edinburgh, judge Lord Hodge granted the move brought by Mr McIntyre's lawyers.

The same judge last month ring-fenced £480,000 over a case by the Rangers' former chief executive Martin Bain.

More than £2m of the club's cash was already frozen in a separate tax dispute with HM Revenue and Customs.

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