Newcastle United have released a plan to become the first ever Premier League club to charge the media for player interviews.
It seems the plan that has been speculated about for some time has finally been put into place by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley as he plans to give exclusive access to Newcastle players for those news sources willing to play.
Ashley has long been surrounded by controversy since his takeover of the Tyneside outfit, but his latest proceedings, releasing a plan for the media to pay for access for player interviews, may prove to be one of his most unpopular decisions.
The billionaire entrepreneur made his money as a savvy business owner with his sporting goods company Sports Direct International Plc. Since taking over the club, Ashley has tried to implement his same business practices that made him successful and carry them over to his reign at Newcastle. However, much to his dismay, he has become a wildly unpopular figure amongst the St James' Park faithful and the media.
Ashley has had several falling outs with the press as he has implemented banning orders on a number of media outlets. It seems to be in an effort to move in a new direction with print media. Ashley felt distancing himself even further by enforcing a payment plan was the proper plan of action to rekindle his strained relationship with the press.
According to a report in the Chronicle, Newcastle are offering a tiered level of payment plans that will be accompanied by different levels of access to the players.
The report in the chronicle revealed, "The club have rather optimistically graded the packages as bronze, silver and gold with the level of payment determining the level of access."
While Ashley is keen to monetise access to the players, this seems more like an opportunity to have the press in his pocket and for the "tyrannical' owner to use those media sources, willing enough to pay, to produce whatever propaganda he so chooses.
It remains to be seen whether this plan will prove effective or revolutionise the industry as Ashley believes, but for now, it seems it will further distance himself from improving his relationship with the press.
Do you think Ashley's plan is fair? Should football clubs be charging the media for access to their team and players?