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Ulster Defend Decision To Ban News Journalists From Press Conference

Ulster Defend Decision To Ban News Journalists From Press Conference
By Gavin Cooney
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Ulster Rugby today excluded all non-sports journalists from their press conference today ahead of this weekend's game against Glasgow Warriors this weekend. Journalists intending to ask questions about matters off the field were informed of the decision earlier this week.

Ulster Rugby have told Balls that the decision was made following consultation with sports journalists who felt that they were not getting enough content to fill their pieces in the sports pages previewing the weekend's game.

A spokesperson for the organisation told Balls that "we decided to bring in our rugby-only journalists as it was our matchweek media call. In previous weeks, there were news journalists at our matchweek media call, and our sports journalists expressed that they weren't able to get enough coverage for their preview in the paper in the week leading up to the game. The decision was made in consultation with them".

Ulster Rugby deny that this decision was taken to suppress conversation surrounding the fallout from the Belfast rape trial, and the subsequent decision by Ulster and Irish Rugby to revoke both players' contracts with immediate effect. Both players were found not guilty of all charges by a jury at Belfast Crown Court last month.


Ulster Rugby Chief Executive Shane Logan spoke to a number of media outlets yesterday about the termination of the players' contracts, and the organisation told Balls that they feel this amounted to sufficient coverage.

Ulster also said that they did not have enough time to extend today's briefing to allow all questions be asked.

One of the main considerations is that we work around the players training schedules, so we only have an hour for the media call.  We normally have a coach and two players [available for interview], and each of them has to do press, broadcast and photography.

No decision has been made as to whether this will happen again ahead of next weekend's game with Munster, with the organisation saying that "any arrangements were only for today".

Ulster's Rob Herring began today's briefing by reading a pre-written statement addressing the departure of Jackson and Olding. Herring spoke of the "sadness" felt by players and staff at their now-former teammates.

It is with a great deal of sadness that the players and pro staff have learnt of this outcome. We know that the two boys will be successful both on and off the pitch wherever they go.



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