BBC vs BFA video row continues after cameraman ejected from Barbados match
The row between Bermuda Broadcasting Company (BBC) and Bermuda Football Association (BFA) over the news blackout of last week’s FIFA World Cup qualifier at the National Sports Centre (NSC) lingers on.
Relations between both parties soured after the BBC learned on the actual day of the event that they had been denied access to film footage of the match and post-match interviews because of an agreement the BFA had with Fresh TV who were granted exclusive rights to film the match instead.
Veteran ZBM cameraman Mr Arnold Landy showed up at the NSC with his equipment to film the match only to be denied permission to do so.
“On the day of the match a BBC representative (Mr Landy) did appear and appeared to set up his equipment,” BFA president Larry Mussenden said. “Our BFA representative kindly requested that he not film any part of the match. There was a reply from him (Mr Landy) thereafter and the eventual result is that he did pack up his equipment.”
Mr Mussenden said BBC CEO Rick Richardson and part-time sports reporter Earl Basden had been advised of his association’s agreement with Fresh TV via e-mail less than 24 hours prior to the match.
“On Thursday evening the BFA issued a letter to all the electronic media setting out the terms for their access to the stadium and the fact that we had arranged with Fresh TV for them to have the exclusive rights to film the match, and that was sent out by e-mail and it went to Rick Richardson as well as to Earl Basden,” Mr Mussenden said.
However, BBC CEO Mr Richardson maintains that he is unaware of any e-mail from the BFA outlining any arrangements they had with Fresh TV and claims he only learned of the agreement when he arrived at last Friday’s match at the NSC and was told that his cameraman had been “escorted off the grounds” by BFA officials.
“I would guarantee that I would go to my broadcast e-mail address and would not see such an e-mail because it would have also come to my Blackberry,” he said. “Maybe it was sent to some other address or probably sent at the end of the business day, which just doesn’t make sense to me.
“If they were going to send a directive out with terms of an exclusive agreement we would have at least appreciated having that a day before.
“I have not seen anything and ironically when the BFA wanted to discuss eleventh hour promotions before the Trinidad game I received direct e-mails in time to get most of the players and officials on our top radio talk show.”
Mr Richardson said he doesn’t have any issues with the agreement the BFA have with Fresh TV but questions whether or not local football’s governing body had the clout to impose a news blackout on the match.
“I hardly think that FIFA would approve of a news blackout that denies the coach and players the opportunity for interviews and exposure after a major game,” he said.
Both parties have now agreed to meet in the near future to settle their ongoing differences.
“We, the BFA, would prefer that we sit down with that organisation and explain to them exactly what has transpired so that we can move forward from here,” Mr Mussenden said.
Mr Richardson added: “I am not aware of any exclusive agreement in World Cup tournaments that effectively have a news blackout and so I would certainly want to discuss that with the BFA president. I look forward to the meeting with Mr Mussenden.”
When asked would BBC be granted permission to film Bermuda’s final World Cup qualifier with Barbados at the NSC tonight, Mr Mussenden replied: “I don’t wish to make any particular comments about that. We have entered an arrangement with Fresh TV and have clarified that.
“We remind media people that they perhaps make their commercial decisions as a commercial entity and we, as the BFA, also have a right to make our decisions on a commercial basis. Just as we will respect their rights, we expect that people will respect our rights.”