BBC Scotland has insisted its football coverage and analysis is editorially fair after Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson claimed the broadcaster “vilified” striker Alfredo Morelos.
Robertson appeared to suggest that incidents involving Rangers players are highlighted more than others on TV highlights show Sportscene and claimed the coverage was influencing decisions made by Scottish Football Association compliance officer Clare Whyte.
Robertson also criticised the SFA’s approach to “re-refereeing” games, a week after goalkeeper Allan McGregor became the first Rangers player to be hit with a retrospective ban this season. Eight other top-flight players have received punishment after matches.
Robertson’s comments came amid an ongoing long-term disagreement between Rangers and the BBC.
He told the club’s official website: “We understand incidents are highlighted from all sorts of sources. The correlation with Sportscene is obviously very high.
“We, as a club, have our own issues with the BBC Scotland. BBC have refused to attend Ibrox since November 2015 – and the dispute has gone on much longer than that.
“They recently asked to come to Ibrox, but only to cover the matches. They would not be interviewing our manager and our players.
“Now, if they are treating us differently in that respect, are there other areas where they are also treating Rangers differently in terms of the incidents which we are seeing being highlighted at the weekend?
“You only have to look at the Alfredo Morelos incident in the Old Firm game, where they seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time examining Alfredo’s actions, but at no time at all did they look at any other actions from that game with the same scrutiny.
“Morelos was then effectively vilified for three weeks on various BBC platforms. So you have to question if they are treating us differently – they have confirmed in writing that they are treating us differently from every other Premiership club – where else are they treating us differently?”
After going into detail about Rangers’ view of the stand-off with the broadcaster, Robertson added: “It is important the compliance officer isn’t influenced unduly by Sportscene given that background. All we ever want from the BBC is to be treated fairly, in a balanced way and in an accurate way.”
In a statement given to Press Association Sport, BBC Scotland said: “The central part of this dispute is that Rangers is continuing to operate an exceptional ban of one of our journalists.
“We have offered to return to Ibrox to provide commentary, as per our contracted rights, while we try to find a permanent solution to the overall dispute, but Rangers have said this is unacceptable.
“Our coverage, including analysis and comment, is editorially fair.
“We will continue to speak to both Rangers and the SPFL about the situation as we believe it’s in the best interest of our audiences to restore the ability to bring commentaries from all SPFL grounds.”
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