Client news   |    July 6th, 2021

Rising Start Emily Appleton Joins Integral

It has long been the case in football that managers are fined by the Football Association for what are deemed unacceptable comments made after a match and it has become a good source of income for them in recent years. The comments that attract the FA’s attention generally relate to refereeing decisions and the performance of match officials.

It is a requirement on managers that they must give post-match interviews and in the case of live matches on TV, these interviews have to be done almost immediately after a match when emotions are often still raw.

The TV interviewer will always pick up on controversial decisions in a match and the net effect of a manager answering the questions honestly is a letter and a fine from the FA. Some managers do decline to answer questions about officials, so they avoid a fine, so it often makes the purpose of the question redundant. Surely it is for the viewer and the pundits to hear the manager’s views and decide who is right and who is wrong, and I don’t think it is right to use the fine system to effectively gag managers. The manager speaks for the club and the team and has a right to speak openly.

In recent years the more cutting and intrusive the questions the better the interview is seen to be. Tennis used to be a sport immune from such an approach and interviewers always appeared to me to be very respectful of the interviewee.

That myth was perhaps blown out of the water last week when Japanese player Naomi Osaka exited the French Open not because she lost a game, not because she was injured but because she declined to do a media interview and was fined heavily for doing so. Naomi cited concern for her mental health and the fact that her ongoing struggle with depression could be triggered by having to face the media and dealing with critical questioning. As with football it is a contractual requirement of the Grand Slam tournaments that players must attend post-game interviews.

Peter Varney, Chariman - Integral Sports Management

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