Saturday, August 06, 2011

Gagging order

As of yesterday, the first rule of Newcastle Utd Football Club is don't talk about Newcastle Utd Football Club - at least, not if you're a player and have access to a Twitter account. While the new policy, borrowed wholesale from Taggart and Man Utd, isn't an outright ban (something the PFA would oppose), it does significantly curb freedom of expression - and, in one respect, extend the club's "no comment" stance beyond just the hierarchy.

Alan Pardew seemed resigned to the prospect of dressing-room disgruntlement at the decision but insisted it had to be taken: "They've probably seen it as another sort of dictatorial moment from us but we've had to issue them legally with a letter to say this is not right, it's a breach of contract and you have to understand you're going to be fined and disciplined for that. It can't happen."

Not being in the know I can't be sure, but presumably this could be rather problematic from a legal perspective - is forcing employees to sign up to new terms all perfectly above board?

Personally I can't claim to be disappointed by the decision. The restriction will presumably mean vulture-like journalists spend less time hungrily awaiting and then reporting on/blowing out of proportion juicy little titbits dropped by various regular tweeters (ASBO in particular), but will also give the likes of ourselves less insight into the behind-the-scenes workings of the club. However, that's a small price to pay if the leaky vessel is made watertight and any grievances and disputes are discussed and resolved in-house and in private as they should be, rather than played out on Twitter and then the back pages of the tabloids in full view of all.




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