PA Sport “under scrutiny” in cost-cutting drive

The Press Association, the UK national news agency which returned a £3 million profit last year, is to make 30 staff redundant, with its sports operations under close scrutiny, according to Media Guardian today.

Twenty jobs have already been trimmed from the staff across the company since February, when Clive Marshall arrived as group chief executive.

Last month, reported how long-term athletics correspondent Dave Martin was told he would not have his contract renewed.

Now The Guardian is reporting that PA’s latest round of job cuts are “‘stretching’ the wire service” and that PA’s “sports services are thought to be under scrutiny”.

They report that sport is considered by management a target for further cuts due to its high costs of foreign travel.

Only last year PA Sport announced ambitious plans to staff each Olympic sport with a specialist reporter through the the 2012 London Olympics. PA Sport has been appointed the “official press agency” for the London Games.

PA employs 1,300 staff with more than 200 journalists across the UK and Ireland.

“In common with most media companies, we have been affected by recent structural and cyclical changes within the sector and we are taking sensible steps to ensure our businesses are operating as efficiently as possible while retaining the quality of our services,” a spokesman for PA said.

“As part of a cost reduction programme, a number of staff have left the group through a combination of natural wastage and voluntary redundancy. We are also carrying out staff consultations with regard to a small number of possible compulsory redundancies.”

There was a company-wide pay freeze last year, though some bonuses were paid. According to PA’s financial statement, the “highest paid director”, likely to have been the outgoing chief executive, Paul Potts, received pay and a bonus of £463,000 and a further £197,000 for “part settlement of contractual pension entitlement”.

More on sports desk job cuts:

Wapping tabloids axe four staff ahead of World Cup

Bierley latest to leave Guardian sports desk

McKenley and Smith to leave Standard sports desk

Sport magazine sacrificed in Observer redesign

Another 70 jobs under the axe at Express group

Baltimore Sun lays-off baseball writers – in mid-game

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