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Club 1872 wins IPSO complaint against Daily Record and Sunday Mail

Club 1872 has been informed by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) that we have had a complaint from April 2019, about an online article in the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, upheld by their complaints committee. We are delighted with this outcome as it brings to a successful conclusion over twelve months of work, during which the Daily Record and Sunday Mail fought our complaint at every stage.

The complaint centred around an online article regarding child abuse which falsely claimed that Rangers supporters had flown a banner at Ibrox “showing sex acts being performed”. During the course of the complaint the Daily Record further, falsely alleged that a banner depicting a priest abusing a minor had been flown at Ibrox during an Old Firm game in 2018.

The Daily Record first attempted to have our complaint thrown out by their lawyers on the basis that Club 1872 had no standing to challenge this falsehood. When this failed, they then embarked on a series of false claims and misrepresentations regarding our complaint. This correspondence included the Daily Record Complaints Officer, the then Sunday Mail Editor, the Daily Record and Sunday Mail Editor in Chief, the Executive Editor of those publications, the Managing Editor of Reach PLC (owners the Sunday Mail and Daily Record) and the Reach PLC lawyer. At the turn of the year they took the complaint to a further stage of review to delay publication of the outcome by a further five months.

Club 1872 produced extensive video evidence of the game in question and a detailed statement from Rangers’ security team which referenced the state of the art CCTV system in Ibrox and the police and stewarding reports from the game, showing clearly that no such banner had appeared at the stadium. Despite this, the Daily Record continued to challenge our complaint based on a second hand account from an individual who had not attended the game and a false statement written by one of their own journalists after our complaint was submitted.

This statement was one of the most troubling aspects of the complaints process. A Daily Record journalist produced a fabricated account which, when challenged, kept changing. First he claimed that the banner had appeared in the Broomloan Stand, then he said it may have been the Copland Stand. It was only after consistent questioning by Club 1872 and IPSO that the Daily Record admitted that this journalist had produced his statement after the story had been published, after our complaint was received and more than four months after the game had taken place. We firmly believe this was a transparent attempt to mislead IPSO, which we are pleased to say failed.

This is not the first time the Daily Record has lied about Rangers supporters or our club. They were sanctioned by IPSO in 2016, following a Club 1872 complaint over their false claim that Rangers supporters had thrown their children in front of police vans at the Scottish Cup Final. They also fought tooth and nail at that time to avoid retracting and correcting that story. In both instances these false claims have been designed to damage Rangers and our supporters.

IPSO are not able to rule on matters of fact so our upheld complaint can only state that the Daily Record did not take due care and attention when publishing this story and compel them to publish a correction. However, for the avoidance of doubt, this claim about Rangers supporters was false and we believe that at all stages of the process the Daily Record knew it was false. This shameful piece of journalism was exacerbated by their refusal to voluntarily retract the false claim and instead engage their lawyers and senior management in a campaign of denial and delay to avoid admitting their liability.

We would like to thank Rangers’ security team for their assistance in this matter, without which it would have been much more difficult to reach this successful outcome.

Supporters may have noticed more recently that the Daily Record has been an outlet for almost daily propaganda from the SPFL over their disgraceful conduct regarding the vote on the future of the 2019/20 league season. A once important publication, which does still retain a very small number of good, credible journalists, has been reduced to a national embarrassment.

We assure our members and the wider Rangers support that we will continue to challenge media falsehoods whenever we can, within the boundaries of our limited resources. Every Rangers supporter who takes the choice to join Club 1872 enables us to achieve a little bit more – we have significantly more strength in numbers. In the meantime we have a simple message for the Rangers support in relation to the Daily Record and Sunday Mail. Don’t buy. Don’t click. Don’t share.

Issued by Supporters Voice Limited, a Club 1872 company

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