Southampton FC under fire over photographer ban

Image caption, The Plymouth Herald used a cartoonist to get round the ban

The Society of Editors has described Southampton FC's decision to ban photographers from its ground as "absolutely crackers".

The club decided to restrict access for photographers at its games in the new season, meaning outlets would have to buy "official" pictures.

It said the move was "to protect the club's commercial revenues derived from the use of its wholly-owned images".

The Society of Editors says it punishes football's "greatest supporters".

Bob Satchwell, from the society, said newspapers gave clubs free publicity in their coverage.

"Newspapers are the greatest supporters of football in this country," he added.

"It just seems to me absolutely crackers and a very strange thing to be doing."

Cartoon goal

Southampton FC's kit sponsor, Umbro, said it would "monitor" the situation and would keep in regular contact with the club.

A spokesman added: "Southampton FC have made us aware of their plans for photography this season and have given us reassurances that this will not affect visibility of the Umbro shirt."

Image caption, Plymouth Argyle released images from its official photographer afterwards

In a statement on its website, the club said: "The club has decided to make available to external media organisations photographic images taken by the club's own professional sports photographers only."

Faced with the prospect of having no pictures of Saturdays game, the Plymouth Herald newspaper hired cartoonist Chris Robinson to depict Plymouth Argyle's 1-0 win against Southampton.

His drawings show Luke Summerfield's winning goal against the Saints and Argyle's new goalkeeper David Button making a second half save for the Pilgrims.

However Plymouth Argyle decided to release its own pictures after the game, taken by its own official photographer.

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