Sport’s no longer in the pink at FT

The Financial Times has decided to cut its sports coverage in the paper from the end of this month.

The FT is axing around 20 staff, and while features sub Charles Morris – who has edited the paper’s sports coverage – keeps his job, the space dedicated to the subject, even in the £2.30 Weekend edition, will be cut as pagination is reduced.

Football results and cricket scoreboards were never as much a priority for the Pink ‘Un as, say, cobalt futures, but the FT‘s sports section expanded into a daily feature in the 1990s, with enhanced coverage on Fridays and Mondays, with a whole page of sports business-orientated coverage on Saturday. Star sports writers Matthew Engel and Simon Kuper were recruited.

Under editor Lionel Barber, sports coverage has reduced. In latest developments, Morris retains his job, Engel will write for the FT Magazine, and Kuper will pen a weekly column on Saturdays, the last remaining bastion of sport in the paper.

The cuts will impact around a dozen journalists, mainly those filing as freelances, including Huw Richards, Graham Otway, Pat Butcher and Rob Steen.

Steen points out that while the FT is axing its sports coverage, it is to continue with a Travel section, even though “so few of us are going to be able to afford it soon, even FT readers”.

Steen, who has spent 22 years writing for the FT, added, “It’s an extremely sad loss to sports journalism.

FT‘s coverage of sport drew fine work from some of the best reporters and feature writers in the business. Being confined, all too often, to no more than a page per week meant that identifying the right stories, and how to take them further than the dailies, was a constant and inspiring challenge.”

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