PR Week: Are football clubs right to shield players from the media?

In football you encounter some "overprotective" and "paranoid" comms people who can make life difficult, says BBC News sports editor Dan Roan - but PRs argue it is understandable that clubs shield players from the media spotlight.

Roan was speaking to PRWeek for the Grilled interview in the latest edition of the magazine.

He said certain PR professionals "punish" journalists for doing their job, adding that in football in particular "you do encounter quite overprotective and, at times, paranoid comms people." 

"Sadly, over time, trust between the media and football clubs has been eroded and that can make life difficult [for journalists]," said Roan. 

Media training is vital

David Alexander, founder of Calacus PR and former football journalist, said that before the proliferation of smartphones and when the internet was in its infancy, footballers were a lot more relaxed whenever they were in the public eye.

Alexander said: "I used to go and watch top clubs in training, I used to go to nightclubs with the players and while the thirst for sports news was as strong back then, there was a bond of trust around what would or would not be reported."

He said young footballers at the major clubs typically have more money and adoration "than most people could ever dream of", adding that at such a young age "it is hard to be thoroughly prepared for the challenges that such a high profile can bring".

As a result, Alexander said regular media training was vital, "so that players can be best prepared for interviews and learn how to show their personality without courting controversy that is likely to get them into trouble".

PRWeek contacted a number of Premier League clubs for comment.

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