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Bayern get union backing for paper ban

Bayern Munich have been backed for their ban of two English papers by Germany's union of journalists. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich media director Markus Hoerwick has said that the papers have to apologize in their print issues, and then could still receive accreditation.

Bastian Schweinsteiger red card Man Utd vs BAyern Munich
Bastian Schweinsteiger received a second caution for a late foul on Wayne Rooney.

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On Thursday, Bayern announced that journalists covering the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal between Die Roten and Manchester United for the Daily Mirror and The Sun will not receive accreditation for next week’s game.

The club said that the papers had "personally insulted" Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger with their postmatch headlines reading "You Schwein" in the Daily Mirror and "You Dirty Schwein" in The Sun, after the midfielder was sent off in the closing stages of the 1-1 first-leg draw at Old Trafford.

Bayern said the headlines were "without respect, discriminatory and personally insulting" and "condemned it utterly."

On Twitter, Dan Silver, the head of sport for Mirror Online, said he believed the German champions had misunderstood the intention behind the pun.

Answering a pre-Bundesliga match news conference on Friday, Bayern media director Markus Hoerwick said that should the papers apologize in their print issues, the papers could still receive accreditation for the Champions League match.

“We expect an apology on a grand scale, in their paper,” Hoerwick said. “Then we will talk about handing them back their accreditation with consummate ease. They have insulted Bastian Schweinsteiger and thus should personally apologize – in the paper. Both head of sports have contacted us, one by phone and one by mail.” 

The European champions have been backed by the Berlin-based Deutscher Journalisten Verband (DJV), Europe's biggest journalist union.

"Under normal circumstances this [to ban papers] is not right," a DJV spokesperson told German news wire dpa, according to Berliner Zeitung.

"But looking at what the papers wrote, I have to sympathise with Bayern. Agitation doesn't blend with the values of journalism.

"Those headlines are low down and would not have been printed in Germany -- they are against the press code," the spokesperson added.

The Verband Deutscher Sportjournalisten (VDS) the association of German sports journalists, also backed Bayern's decision.

"Both papers had an insulting slant. For the most part, the freedom of press stands above all, but it also has its limits," Erich Laaser, the president of the association was quoted by dpa.

The Daily Mirror was reluctant to make any comments when asked by the German news wire, while a spokesperson for The Sun’s publishing company News UK said: "We will contact Bayern Munich to clear out this matter."

Meanwhile, most of the German media shied away from commenting on the ban in their own articles.

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