I'm one of the complainers. Initiated my complaint during the lack of coverage during Europa Qualifiers. Complaint has been escalated and escalated again and now sits somewhere in the Executive Complaints Unit down south. 20 working days for them to respond expires on 18th October.
My complaint and responses thus far;
To Whom it May Concern,
I write (as advised in my last response from the BBC Complaints team) to continue through the complaints process with Regards to Case Number xxxxxxxxxxx, as I feel my query has not been fully satisfied. I am content that the complaint has gone through due process in accordance with your rules and timescales, but I must say the explanation and outcome is less than satisfactory for me as a license player. My initial complaint was over the coverage of Rangers games in European Qualifying matches, and it developed into a query on coverage of Rangers games in general. Firstly, see below the history of the complaint;
1. MY COMPLAINT initiated 21st August 2018: Complaint Summary: Coverage of Scottish European Qualifying Games
Full Complaint: I returned to Scotland recently after 10 years abroad. One of the things I looked forward to was catching up with Scottish football on the radio. I'm just a general football fan, particularly looking out for Scottish teams in Europe, and I listen to most games involving any teams, particularly when travelling if they're on. But I do have a soft spot for Rangers in particular, so I was particularly keen on hearing the European Qualifying games involving them. I understand that as a public service provider, Radio Scotland has to maintain a broad appeal so I wouldn't expect to hear every minute of their games, but I would expect to hear a fair share of the action. But during the previous three rounds, Radio Scotland favoured EVERY Hibs game ahead of Rangers games, particularly the home games. Even last week, you only cut to the Rangers game after the Hibs game had finished. I've been hearing the trailers today for the coverage of this weeks qualifiers and it sounds like you are live broadcasting the whole of celtic's game and not bothering with the Rangers game at all, other than providing updates as events unfold. The kick offs for both games mean you could broadcast the games back to back, so obviously I'm curious as to why you aren't doing so?
BBC Response (22nd August): Thank you for getting in touch about Sportsound and our coverage of the European qualifiers. We don’t hold the rights to broadcast coverage of Rangers v FC Ufa. We realise this may be disappointing but hope the clarification is helpful. Thank you, once again, for taking the time to contact us. Kind regards, Nathan Lynch, BBC Complaints Team
2. MY FOLLOW UP (22nd August):
Full Complaint: In your response to my original query regarding coverage of, in particular, the Rangers games in qualifying, I asked about this weeks qualifier in particular. Your response was to tell me that you don't have the rights for this weeks game. You didn't cover the previous home games either. Was this because you also didn't have the rights for those either? You had the rights for Aberdeen, celtic and Hibernian, so why not Rangers? Will this extend into the league season also? Or will I be able to hear live coverage of games from all venues, including Ibrox?
BBC Response (20th September): Thank you for taking the time to contact us again. We appreciate that you feel strongly about Sportsound’s coverage of the European qualifiers and are sorry to learn that you were not satisfied with our earlier response. We raised your concerns with the relevant teams at BBC Scotland. We are disappointed with the ongoing situation with Rangers, who have withdrawn the media credentials of one of our reporters (thus preventing him from reporting from Ibrox). We continue to discuss a resolution of this matter with the club but until it is resolved we will not be sending journalists to Ibrox or attending Rangers’ press conferences. We will continue to report on Rangers both on and off the pitch and will feature match action where appropriate. The level of coverage is decided on a case by case basis, we will be providing live radio commentary of Villarreal v Rangers on Thursday 20 September. Kind regards, Andrew McCormick, BBC Complaints Team.
I received a separate email to tell me that the local complaint was exhausted and I'd need to take up with the Executive Complaints Unit if I wasn't satisfied with the response received. So I wrote to them on 20th September:
To Whom it May Concern,
I write (as advised in my last response from the BBC Complaints team) to continue through the complaints process with Regards to Case Number xxxxxxxxxxx, as I feel my query has not been fully satisfied. I am content that the complaint has gone through due process in accordance with your rules and timescales, but I must say the explanation and outcome is less than satisfactory for me as a license player. My initial complaint was over the coverage of Rangers games in European Qualifying matches, and it developed into a query on coverage of Rangers games in general. Please see attached the history of the complaint;
My reason for continuing with the complaint, is that it emerged in the second response that BBC Scotland (Sportsound) are refusing to cover Rangers home games or attend press conferences because there appears to be a dispute between Rangers and one BBC journalist (see highlighted text). Perhaps I could be furnished with the details of the dispute so as to understand why BBC Scotland refuse to send a reporter? Otherwise, as a tax and license payer, I find that entirely unacceptable. BBC Scotland have several sports reporters they can send instead of the one in dispute. Why won’t they send another? As a licence payer, myself and, in fact, a very large licence paying demograph in Scotland are being denied the same right to hear Rangers live games and news from Ibrox, just as every other SPFL Premier supporter can hear games and news from their clubs. In fact, as a result of this BBC action, away teams playing at Ibrox are also being denied this same coverage! As the BBC is a public service broadcaster, I’m astonished that BBC Scotland can take such action when the “dispute” is only with one reporter. In my business, if any client had a problem with me or any of my staff, and “banned” them from site, the last thing I would be allowed to do is turn my back on the client… As a professional person, I’d continue to provide the service whilst seeking to understand and resolve the issue with the individual. I can’t understand why BBC Scotland aren’t behaving in the same way. This seems incredibly unprofessional and quite probably at odds with the BBC’s Royal Charter and the impartial service the BBC promise to provide.
What I’d like from this “complaint” is for BBC Scotland restore normal coverage of Rangers, i.e. if need be send another reporter to Ibrox for press conferences, their “open-all-mikes” match coverage, and provide occasional full live coverage of match as they do for every other top flight club. If they will not do this, I’d expect to receive communication that allows me to understand the situation with the supposed “dispute” and why BBC Scotland cannot provide such coverage.
I look forward to hearing from you.