National Committee

Loftus Road report, June 2011

Brian Scovell and Christopher Davies were the Football Writers’ Association national committee representatives who visited Queens Park Rangers to see media officer Ian Taylor about their new press facilities. If all goes to plan the press box/press room/mixed zone will be excellent. As you will know, Loftus Road does not have too much space but they seem to be making the most of it.

One for Sky Sports; one for BBC etc. This does not really concern football writers but the TV interview room is to be where the boutique is, towards the front of the main entrance.

At present it is just to the right as you come down the stairs from the press box. It was adequate for Championship games but not for the extra demands of the Barclays Premier League. It is being moved to where the Platinum Bar is at present – turn left as you come from the press box and it is situated at the end of the corridor, about a 35-yard walk. While not perfect, it is hardly the biggest inconvenience in the world. Inside will be a self-contained radio room rather like Ipswich have at Portman Road. The managers will be brought in and there will be eight rows of eight seats, each with a ‘flip top’ to facilitate a lap-top. There will be around 24 work stations with power plugs, mainly around the perimeter of the room. Sky Sports and ESPN will be available on three decent sized screens. There are male and female toilets.

At the moment QPR supply soup and a roll, pies and sandwiches plus coffee, tea and soft drinks. They hope to ‘upgrade’ this to, for example, chili con carne and a jacket potato.

At present a nightmare (or an afternoon-mare on Saturdays and Sundays). One long row with access only at each end. The idea is to take out every seventh seat with access from the front to a row of [maximum] seven seats, rather like White Hart Lane. This way only three journalists would be ‘inconvenienced.’ They are taking out a row of ‘season tickets’ seats at the front of the PB to facilitate this. The PB will be tight in numbers – 16 radio and 49 written press – but it conforms with Premier League requirements. There will be four new TV monitors showing games; only when the matches are live on television will there be action replays.

This will be conducted pitch-side in the tunnel area with a designated player(s). The mixed zone (on a Saturday) is essentially for the Mondays and the idea is for the Press Association, a Monday national representative plus a local journalist from the home and away clubs to be present. This will always be an area of contention and we will never get what we want because different people want different things. This is probably as good as it gets, though.

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