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Media credentials and access will be granted only to individuals with a legitimate working function at a game, training session or event. The bearer must be on a specific assignment. Credentials are non-transferable. Any unauthorized use of a credential subjects bearer to ejection from the stadium. Resale or attempted resale is grounds for seizure and cancellation.
The following actions may result in seizure of credential and/or ejection of its wearer from the stadium or training facility:
• Requesting autographs at any time.
• Taking photographs with players/coaches
• Using credential for family or friends of a working media members
• Conduction unauthorized interviews
• Unprofessional behavior (Cheering in the press box, consumption of alcoholic beverages, failure to abide by posted rules, etc.)
Treatment of Credentialed Media
1. Media Access to Locker Rooms: MLS requires that the club locker rooms must be opened to the media no later than 15 minutes after a game (referred to as “cooling down” period). Please also see standards for National Television Partners on Page 24.
Pregame: Players must be made available to media prior to games up until 60 minutes before kickoff. Pregame media access procedure will be properly communicated to all relevant security personnel. Any violations of these rules may result in fines.
Postgame: If any club opens its locker room to media later than 15 minutes after an MLS regular season or MLS Cup Playoff game, the following will occur:
Team PR directors should be present to signal the beginning of media locker room access period before and after all games.
Media Cell Phones: No media member may use a cell phone at any time inside a team locker room. Media members may carry their cell phones into the locker room, but may not use them to place calls or take photographs.
Equality of Access: “Media” consists of the following categories of working professionals who hold appropriate credentials: writers, photographers, radio and television sportscasters and their crews. NO STILL PHOTOGRAPHY IS ALLOWED IN THE LOCKER ROOMS (exceptions must be discussed and approved beforehand by participating teams, MLS Communications and MLS Operations). No individuals other than League or Club representatives or members of the media shall be allowed in Club locker rooms following a game.
Under no circumstances shall any club and/or its players discriminate in any fashion against an accredited member of the media based upon race, creed, sex or national origin.
Referee Pool Reporter: Per the MLS Game Operations department each team, prior to the season, shall identify a main pool reporter and two alternates. The names shall be submitted to MLS Communications by March 1, 2011. The names of the pool reporters
2. Seating Access: All members of the media who hold an MLS or Team media credential shall be afforded all professional courtesies extended to the media, including, but not limited to: access to stadiums, locker rooms, media workrooms and seating areas. All credentialed media shall be seated in media seating areas, consistent with treatment afforded comparable media. In addition, all members of the media are to be afforded equal treatment and access to facilities and personnel, regardless of ethnicity or gender.
In order to maintain the integrity of the working press box, only media members are allowed a seat in the press box. All other officials, inactive players, referee assessors, player representatives/agents, VIP and administrators should be seated by the home Club operations department in booths separate from media areas or in assigned stadium seats.
3. Traveling Media: Members of the working media who regularly travel with a visiting team are not to be treated in a discriminatory manner with regard to seating or any other privilege or facility accorded to the home media. Comparable seating and equipment should apply to home and road media (print and electronic). Announced visiting radio broadcasters will each be assigned an indoor booth with at least one ISDN line.
4. Media Access to Practices: Clubs are encouraged to make all practices open to media. If a practice is closed, clubs must grant a 15-minute media access period at the start or end of practice, as well as making the coach and players available for interviews following the conclusion of practice. Clubs are strongly encouraged to ensure that ballwork is at least part of the 15-minutes access period. If practices are open to the media, as defined above, they must be open to all media; if practices are closed to the media, they must be closed to all media.
Clubs violating the media access policies on practice days will be subject to fines or other discipline at the discretion of MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
5. Broadcasters and Camera Crews: Visiting broadcasters shall be seated in a location comparable to the location provided for home broadcasters in the stadium. If a visiting broadcaster requires a person to maintain statistics, the organization must notify the home team at least 48 hours in advance. Should a broadcast outlet provide its own statistician, it shall be made clear that the person is present in a working capacity. Friends or relatives are not permitted to occupy a working position, and the League Office should immediately be made aware of any violations. ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Deportes, Univision if applicable, local TV rightsholders must receive midfield seating.
The home team PR Director shall be responsible for providing adequate security protection for camera crews, radio and television commentators and their equipment, and for ensuring that no person or persons are allowed to interfere with the actions of television camera crews covering the game for local stations, cable systems or a national network. This applies to pre-game, the game itself and post-game operation.