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RESOLUTION 12: GREENSLADE AT THE GUARDIAN. LIES OR JUST LAZY JOURNALISM?

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ROY GREENSLADE, Media Correspondent at the Guardian this morning published an entirely misleading article in the Guardian’s website titled ‘Why the Guardian rejected an advert about Scottish football.’

“The crowd-funded ad, created by a group Celtic shareholders linked to a website, Celtic Quick News (CQN), raised questions about the governance of Scottish football.

It concerns a situation that has little resonance outside Scotland and, arguably, outside Glasgow, about Rangers Football Club having gone into administration in 2012 followed by its re-emergence as a reconstituted entity.”

Supporters of many other clubs contributed to the crowd funding of the advertisement. Wrong doing in football seems to be a major global story but because it could have happened in Scotland than that’s clearly not the of interest to the Guardian.

“The nub of the shareholders’ allegation is that rules were broken by the Scottish Football Association (SFA) in order to allow the “new” Rangers to obtain a Uefa licence to play in European Champions League.”

Resolution 12 and the advertising copy submitted to the Guardian concern the issuing of a licence to Rangers in 2011. Rangers did not go into liquidation until 2012 when a ‘new’ club was for founded by Charles Green.  The ad had nothing to do with the ‘new’ Rangers.

My understanding is that the advert was indeed booked in, but that the copy had not been seen at the time. It was in French, the ad having previously been published in a Swiss newspaper. 

Once it was translated into English, the usual procedure for dealing with all ads kicked in. The content was reviewed in the normal way and it was decided, on balance, that it did not comply with the Guardian’s advertising terms and conditions. I believe legal advice was also sought.”

Two version of the ad were produced, with the second one simply involving a change to the intro text. Both versions were in English, as Henry Tucker at the Guardian confirmed to CQN yesterday. At no stage did these ads ever get translated into French. Just to confirm both emails to Henry Tucker, which contained the two ads have been viewed again this morning, both are in Mr Tucker’s possession and both are in English.

The ad had not previously appeared in a Swiss newspaper – the Tribune de Genéve Mr Greenslade, it would have take ten seconds to check. The ads were planned to appear in the Guardian and The Tribune de Genéve on Wednesday 1st June – the same day as the SFA were holding their AGM.

Mr Greenslade is claiming that the ad was translated at their end, complete nonsense. All he has to do is produce the French version of the ad and all will be clear! The Guardian were made aware of their error in making this false claim yesterday yet he is repeating it today.

Then he says that he believes that media advice was also sought. Perhaps he wants to look at the timings of the email conversations on 27th May.  If we are to believe the Guardian they got the ad in French, translated it, got their lawyers to review it and give an opinion on the newly translated content – all in an hour!

Here is the wording of the email we received from Henry Tucker, which includes no mention of the text being in French, or indeed lawyers or translators being involved:

“Yes we did indeed. Thanks for sending it across.

“However, I regret to inform you that adverts such as this get reviewed by our editorial board and as such they’ve decided not to carry the advertisement on this occasion. We therefore will be cancelling the booking this end with no monies due.

“We will of course reimburse you in full and this has been actioned by myself already; it will be with our accounts team who will be making the necessary transaction as soon as possible.

Regards, 

Henry Tucker

Mr Greenslade doesn’t seem to be aware that Mr Tucker did not action the refund of the money and it took until this week for CQN to get the funds back. This entirely frustrated our plans to publish the advertisement elsewhere, a fact that the Guardian were repeatedly made aware of. He does add this little PS:

“PS: Personally, I might have reached a different decision, but that’s totally beside the point. GNM’s ad department has rules and it applied them.”

The Guardian’s ad department were made aware of the subject matter of the advertisement from the beginning. They were also told about the crowd funded advertisement that appeared in Sunday Herald and with all the this information supplied in good faith by CQN at the very beginning, the Guardian accepted the two insertions, issued their invoice and received the funds.

CQN has asked Mr Greenslade to check the facts and then issue a full apology and a retraction today. He has not responded to our messages.

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