Resolution Statement – 02635-21 GB Snow Sports Limited (GBSS) v Daily Mail
Summary of Complaint
1. GB Snow Sports (GBSS) Limited complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “BRITISH SKIING CHARGES ATHLETES £33k A YEAR TO COMPETE / STINK ON THE SLOPES”, published on 10th March 2021.
2. The article reported on a Sportsmail investigation into governing body GB Snowsport. The article stated that the investigation had “reveal[ed] an avalanche of injustices”, including that “[a]thletes [are] being charged up to £33,500 a year to become part of the national team programme with the threat of suspension if they do not pay”.
3. The article also appeared online in substantially the same format under the headline “REVEALED: GB Snowsport charges athletes £33k to take part in their programme while paying six-figure salaries to directors, receives £11m from UK Sport, has failed to find adequate sponsorship... and stars are forced to crowdfund and sell homes”.
4. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1 as the headlines and content of the article suggested that all, if not most, GBSS athletes were obliged to pay £33,500 in order to compete. The complainant said that only three of the 144 athletes across Olympic and Paralympic Programmes pay £33,500, and of those three two have the sum substantially subsidised by GBSS.
5. The publication did not accept a breach of the Code. Prior to the publication of the article, it had asked the complainant how many athletes paid £33,500. . The publication said it had therefore taken care to publish accurate information. It also maintained that there was no failure to take care over the accuracy of the headline or sub-headline, highlighting that the article made clear that athletes were charged “up to £33,500 a year” and that “some athletes are being forced to pay £33.5k”. It said it was not inaccurate to characterise three athletes who pay this amount as “some” athletes.
Relevant Code Provisions
Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.
iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. During IPSO’s investigation the publication offered to print the following clarification:
“An article on March 10 about the governing body for Olympic and Paralympic snowsports, GB Snowsport, said that the organisation charges athletes ‘up to £33,500’ to compete. GB Snowsport have asked us to clarify that three of its athletes previously paid that sum, and that their costs are offset by financial awards.”
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to their satisfaction.
9. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.
Date complaint received: 12/03/2021
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 14/05/2021Back to ruling listing