News of the World Accuses Daily Record of Protecting Football ‘Contact’

The common practice of newspapers barely recognising each other – not least when a rival has broken a story – was spectacularly blown apart yesterday when the Scottish News of the World claimed a link with the Daily Record saved a footballer from the suffering the same fate as Scottish teammates following a drinking session last weekend.

Last week, Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor were dropped to the substitutes’ bench for a Scotland World Cup qualifying match, against Iceland, following a ‘marathon’ drinking session a few days’ previously. They were later to be handed a lifetime ban after making rude gestures during the game.

But the News of the World says another footballer, Scott Brown, was also involved in the session. It claims it was the Daily Record that brought the names of Ferguson and McGregor to the attention of the Scottish Football Association but that it declined to include Brown’s.

It says: “Astonishingly, [Scott Brown] avoided being hammered by the Scotland gaffer, George Burley, after being shielded by his contacts at the Daily Record.”

It goes on to say that the rude gestures had been aimed at Daily Record photographers because of the paper’s role in their demise. And it reports unnamed players believing the Record “deliberately stuck the knife” into Ferguson because he has a column in News of the World sister title, the Sun.

It even suggests that an “angry exchange” between Ferguson and Record executive sports editor, James Traynor – a few hours before the drinking bout – may have been a factor. And adds that Brown wasn’t mentioned to the SFA because he is an important contact for reporter, Keith Jackson.

The paper names both Traynor and Jackson.

Update: April 7 2009. The Daily Record reacted, saying: “Normally we would laugh off attacks on the integrity of our sports reporters as jealousy from our competitors.

“But a piece in a downmarket Sunday tabloid sank to unacceptable depths.

“The News of the World’s so-called investigation into the Boozegate scandal was so full of garbage we had to react.

“And here, for our loyal army of readers, is THE TRUTH of how we broke the sports story of the year…….”

Read more, here.

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