Number 1 in a series of 1 (so far).
It seems that Sunday Mirror hack Simon Wright was behind the much-publicised “Fan in the Changing Room” incident after England’s pisspoor showing against Algeria in Cape Town.
This from local paper The Times (which is no paragon of virtue or accuracy either, I might add):
A British reporter from The Sunday Mirror has been arrested by the South African police for “orchestrating” the incident at Cape Town’s Greenpoint Stadium where UK citizen, Pavlos Joseph trespassed into the English team’s change room.
Simon Wright was arrested for “booking hotels for Mr Joseph under a false name and also harbouring and interviewing Mr Joseph for seven days after he made news,” National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele told a press briefing in Pretoria this morning.
Cele told both local and international media that police had evidence that Wright had orchestrated the incident and ” involved the cooperation of a number of individuals”.
Cele said observation of CCTV footage from the English change rooms and investigations confirmed this.
“They just wanted to put the World Cup in a bad light and to profit from this act- we expect to arrest more people in this case.”
Wright wrote several articles in the run up to the World Cup, criticising South Africa security and dissuaded people from attending the tournament because of crime.
Furthermore, Cele said that since the start of the tournament, countrywide, there have been 29 cases of unauthorised ticket sales. 33 people were arrested for their involvement, of which 14 were South Africans and 19 from other countries. In total, Cele said police have arrested 316 people, of which 207 are South Africans and 109 foreign nationals, including people from Mozambique, Algeria, 8 from the UK, 5 Argentinians, Denmark, France and Australia. Cele joked it was a “United Nations in Crime”. Most of the arrests were related to theft charges.
Cele said that security had been successful and that both World Cup security and normal policing were as important as each other.
“The SAPS are good ambassadors. And I would like to encourage SAPS members to ensure the Fifa World Cup takes place in stable and safe environment.”
And here’s Wright’s article on that changing room incident, complete with (and there’s a clue here) a picture of Pavlos Joseph on the pitch at the Cape Town Stadium – which is obviously the place that most trespassing English fans are taken to directly from the changing room area. Right.
This is merely evidence of the campaign of negative and sensationalist reporting that has been waged on South Africa by the British tabloids. It’s nothing we haven’t seen or heard before, but it’s nice to see some action has been taken against one of the amoral and unprofessional “journalists” behind this repeated nonsense.
UK readers of 6000 miles… please share this with your friends via facebook, twitter or email. Or any other method, really.
I have this sneaking suspicion that you’re not going to be reading much about it in your papers. Especially the Sunday Mirror.
So I’ll keep you updated.
And here’s an update now:
“It was an absolutely legitimate story that he was involved in.” said Nick Fullagar, spokesman for the British newspaper group Trinity Mirror.
He believed that the journalist “conducted himself perfectly properly as he would have here in the UK. We have spoken to him and he’s got a lawyer,” he said, adding that he would appear in court on Wednesday morning.
And that’s their defence? That Wright conducted himself as he would have done in the UK?
That’s about as good an admission of guilt as you’ll ever see.