Foul! Setting restrictive rules for the media plays a dangerous game

Whether you love the beautiful game, or think the goal posts in your local park are there simply for the convenience of dog walkers and their piddling pooches, football often provides a useful source of case studies for good and bad media management.

Here, in my view, is a particularly bad case of media management:

It’s my ball and I won’t play
The Carlos Tevez affair – and for those who don’t follow the game, ‘famous footballer refuses to take off tracksuit and play football’ sums it up quite neatly – threw up an interesting press conference where Manchester City’s Head of Communications apparently announced that any questions surrounding Tevez would immediately end the press conference.

What do Man City think will happen if they refuse to take questions about Tevez at a press conference? That journalists will simply shrug their shoulders and write about Mancini’s (the manager) terrific hair; or whether they’ll line up a 4:3:3 formation at the next home game.

Of course they won’t. And this piece in the Guardian sums up a journalist’s attitude very well to this piece of heavy handed media dealing

Don’t duck the issue
As ever, don’t duck the issue. If there are legal reasons why a particular matter can’t be discussed, employment contracts for instance, then say so when asked the question. But to simply refuse to ask questions about the hottest issue of the day seems to me to belong to an era of media management that should have long since disappeared.