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Newspaper’s pro-Italy front page did not discriminate against English

26 Jul 2021 3 minute read
The National’s light-hearted front page before the Euro 2020 final.

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.”

Newspaper humour

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 National front page depicting Italy manager Roberto Mancini as William Wallace

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.

Gabby Logan presents coverage of Wales’ matches on the BBC. Image by the BBC.

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.”

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2 years ago

Of course the English can’t possibly be racist towards the Welsh, Scots and Irish. Their coverage is of course always (un)fair and unbiased. If Welsh, Scots and Irish ever complain about the way we are portrayed in their media we’re always told to ‘get over ourselves’ or that’s it’s just ‘harmless fun’ or ‘banter’. Well perhaps the poor old so-hard-done-by English should get over themselves. And one other thing: remember the controversy of Anne Robinson’s remarks about the Welsh? Apparently that wasn’t racist. It goes both ways, if the nasty comments she makes about an entire nation of people aren’t… Read more »

Notta Bott
Notta Bott
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruce

The fact that at half time during a Welsh game, they showed a package about the England team says everything really.

2 years ago

The English press is an abomination. But one that its happily dying on its ar5e. It’s now relegated to trying to scrape a living by purveying internet porn on its sidebar. Which let’s face it is what the Sun and Star have always done. But the Torygraph and its paywall and the Mail and its massive embracing of porn, next to articles shaming actresses for showing too much cleavage and shaming Meghan Markle-Saxe-Coburg-Gotha for being too black are just too ridiculous for words

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris
2 years ago

but, who is making these complaints and why, it wouldn’t be some sort of unionist s**t stirring, would it?

2 years ago
Reply to  Mark

(Sound of hammer stricking nail with a satisfying ‘thunk’)

2 years ago

Anything that undermines the fragile psyche of the Anglo Brit supremacist is taboo. Ironic they should complain about any part of Euro 2020 coverage as the most jingoistic of the lot by far was the BBC’s ghastly mob led by the crisp muncher Lineker. They even introduced discussion of Engerland’s prospects when covering matches involving 2 other countries ! Pathetic.

2 years ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Dead Ringers (on R4) had a good take on the punditariat throughout.

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