Liverpool FC ends 'solid working relationship' with The Sun with apparent ban on paper

The Sun says it has had a "solid working relationship" with Liverpool Football Club since the 1988 Hillsborough disaster - after the newspaper's staff were reportedly banned by the club today.

It has been widely reported that The Sun will no longer be allowed to report from the club's stadium or training ground, and will be given no access to players or management.

While PRWeek was not able to immediately contact anyone from the club's PR department, the move is said to be linked to the newspaper's coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.

Last year, an inquiry into Hillsborough ruled that 96 fans of the club were unlawfully killed at the tragedy. Fans continue to campaign for justice over the case, and The Sun's misleading coverage of the disaster has led to it being boycotted by many in the city, and being routinely referred to as 'The S*n' by the local paper Liverpool Echo.

A statement from The Sun, which has been distributed to several media outlets including PRWeek, says: "The Sun and Liverpool FC have had a solid working relationship for the 28 years since the Hillsborough tragedy. Banning journalists from a club is bad for fans and bad for football. The Sun can reassure readers this won’t affect our full football coverage.

"The Sun deeply regrets its reporting of the tragic events at Hillsborough and understands the damage caused by those reports is still felt by many in the city. A new generation of journalists on the paper congratulate the families on the hard fought victory they have achieved through the inquest. It is to their credit that the truth has emerged and, whilst we can't undo the damage done, we would like to further a dialogue with the city and to show that the paper has respect for the people of Liverpool."

A prominent Hillsborough campaign group welcomed the apparent ban.

The Sun is not the first newspaper to face an apparent ban from a top football club - Newcastle United barred three local papers in 2013, Coventry City took similar action in 2016, while Crawley Town, Port Vale, Rotherham United, Nottingham Forest, Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers "have all limited the actions of individual journalists" in recent years, according to a 2015 article by a Channel 4 correspondent.

Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson also declined to speak to the BBC for several years.

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