Sir Alex Ferguson forced to end BBC ban

Monday, November 16 2009,

Sir Alex Ferguson will have to end his six-year ban on giving interviews to BBC reporters under newly agreed rules coming into force next season.

A motion was passed at a Premier League board meeting last week which made post-match interviews with all media rights holders mandatory for league managers,

Manchester United supremo Ferguson has not spoken to the BBC since 2004 when his son Jason, a football agent, was the subject of a Panorama documentary alleging that he used his father's status to exert influence on the transfer market.

Despite Jason never being found guilty of any wrongdoing, Ferguson pledged never to speak to the "arrogant beyond belief" BBC ever again. Currently, the ban means that Ferguson's number two Mike Phelan is tasked with giving interviews to the corporation on shows such as Match Of The Day.

Under the new regulations, however, any manager who refuses to speak to designated media will be judged in breach of Premier League rules and appropriately punished.

Coming into effect from the 2010/11 season, the new arrangement may also force Ferguson to start talking directly to the written press after refusing to do so for the past seven years. He will generally only give interviews to Manchester United's own TV channel MUTV.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp and Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce mounted similar boycotts in the past following unfavourable Panorama documentaries.

In conjunction, the Premier League has further ruled that TV rights holders will be allowed on the pitch after the final whistle to interview the winning team, as currently occurs at the FA Cup Final. Should the game end in a draw, both sets of players will be open for interview.