Football backs down over ID card scheme

By Andrew Moger, Newspaper Publishers’ Association
The football authorities have decided against insisting that all journalists and photographers have to carry the leagues’ own “Press Card”, and instead, Football DataCo (FDC), on behalf of the Premier League, the Championship and lower leagues, has said it will continue to recognise the UK Press Card Authority card, otherwise known as the “Met Card”.

This follows lengthy dialogue with the leagues by the Newspaper Publishers Association, which believes that UK Press Card provides a universally accepted, independent and primary means for news-gatherers to prove their bona fides. The NPA campaign was supported by a number of organisations including the Sports Journalists’ Association, international news agencies and the Press Association and the Society of Editors.

In fact, FDC’s own security consultants have come out in support of the UK Press Card.

Control Risks had conducted a study of procedures including trying to falsely obtain cards from some of the 14 media “gatekeeper” organisations which issue them. It found just one breach.

Even though the Press Card is for ID and not a fully-fledged security card, the security consultants reported that the Press Card was “pretty robust”. It did make some recommendations to be considered by the UK Press Card Authority, which has been conducting its own review of the card’s design and validation.

There remains one point of contention, however. The leagues wish to press ahead with an online system for booking press places at games and FDC’s current design for checking the standing of press pass applicants would rely upon data about press card holders being shared on a daily basis by the UKPCA with the leagues.

Even though the personal information would be confined, under the current design, to press card holder’s name, organisation, role and press card identification coding, this raises serious issues of practicality – as well as data-protection concerns.

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