Bayern bans English journalists from the match tonight
Mirror’s Manchester reporter, David McDonnell, and Chief Sport Writer, Oliver Holt, have had their accreditation for tonight’s match withdrawn. It seems they are being punished by an offensive headline last week. But is this censorship? And even if they deserve punishment, stopping them from doing their job is the right way to go about it? The Germans seem to imply it was similar to the “Gay Gunners” banner shown by some fans at the Allianz Stadium. Really?
In his column today Holt explains what happened. Some extracts.
Last week, Schweinsteiger scored a superb equaliser for Bayern but was later sent off for a foul on Wayne Rooney. He left the pitch hurling abuse at Rooney and accusing him of cheating to get him dismissed, even though he had mistimed his tackle hopelessly.
The headline read like this: You Dirty Schwein. Now, you may not split your sides over this headline. You may think it mildly funny. Or you may think it crass.
Whatever you thought of it, it was changed for the second edition.
Bayern, though, were deeply offended. Schwein means ‘pig’ in German and is, apparently, a grave insult.
Bayern’s media director, Markus Hörwick, telephoned the Mirror’s chief football writer, Martin Lipton, the next morning and complained bitterly about it.The newspaper apologised to him for any offence we had caused, but the apology was not accepted. The club said the headline was “disrespectful, discriminatory and personally insulting” towards Schweinsteiger.
They also, somewhat surprisingly, sought to draw a parallel between the Mirror headline and a homophobic banner some of its fans held up at the Allianz Arena at a tie against Arsenal that read ‘Gay Gunners’ and mocked the appearance of Mesut Ozil.
Bayern argued that they had been punished for their fans’ homophobia and now the Mirror must be punished for our headline.