Newspaper’s pro-Italy front page did not discriminate against English
The front page of a Scottish newspaper in support of the Italian football team depicting their manager Roberto Mancini as William Wallace did not discriminate against English people, the UK press watchdog has ruled.
IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation) dismissed complaints about the tongue-in-cheek front page of The National, published the day before the Euro 2020 final with the headline “our final hope”, prompted a number of complaints under Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editor’s Code of Practice.
Complainants were informed by IPSO: “Your concern that the article discriminated against English people in general did not relate to an individual and is not a characteristic protected by the Code.
“This meant that it did not engage the terms of this Clause.”
Editor of the pro-Scottish independence title, Callum Baird, added: “Our Roberto Mancini front page was a massive hit – with the vast majority of people, especially those in Europe and football fans, understanding exactly what our intention was with it.
“It’s entirely reasonable to make fun of rival sports teams.
“Nobody would expect Rangers fans to support Celtic in a cup final or vice versa.
“As likeable as many of this England team’s players are, with the likes of Marcus Rashford doing a fantastic job of taking on the Tories, we simply couldn’t have handled another 55 years of the media and commentators banging on about it.
“The mock-up of Mancini as Braveheart was some classic newspaper humour and we’re glad so many people – including the man himself and captain Giorgio Chiellini – got a laugh out of it.”
The ruling came after The Daily Telegraph had accused the BBC of Welsh bias during the Euro 2020.
It may have come as a surprise for anyone who sat through the coverage of the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy, but it was the lack of balance in broadcasters’ coverage of Wales matches that drew the Telegraph newspaper’s ire.
Rounding up the “good, the bad and the ugly” of the tournament, the newspaper’s pet peeve was that the BBC’s coverage of Wales’ matches against Switzerland, Turkey, Italy and Denmark was too one-sided.
And it argued that the coverage in support of Wales suggested that the “different countries of the UK have given up pretending they are as one”. Wales has fielded its own international team since 1876.
The Telegraph included Wales’ BBC coverage under the heading “Most one-sided selections”.
“Gabby Logan presented the Wales games with an all-Welsh pundit trio who were all allowed to talk of ‘we’ and basically cheerlead (which is not to deny that England games are covered with partisan fervour as well),” the newspaper said.
“It is sign of the times that a) being neutral or objective is so last year, and b) perhaps, that the different countries of the UK have given up pretending they are as one.”
Without a hint of irony however, the same article praised as the best partnership of the tournament “Ian Wright and [Emma] Hayes’s celebration of England’s equaliser versus Denmark”.
“[It] was perfection: would absolutely watch a travel show where they go to places together in a really enthusiastic way.”