Saturday, 27 September 2008

Gordon Brown has said it was "unfortunate" more football fans could not watch many of this week's World Cup qualifiers amid a row over TV coverage.

Just 290,000 people saw highlights of England against Croatia on Setanta after the broadcaster could not agree a deal to sell rights to ITV or the BBC.

Live coverage on Setanta's pay-TV channel was seen by 1.55m people, well below figures for previous games.

Games featuring Scotland and Wales were also only available live on pay-TV.

Many fans were angry they were unable to watch highlights of the games on an analogue channel.
Scotland games 'should be free'
Scotland's qualifiers are all on subscription services

A review of sports shown free on terrestrial television must include Scotland football games, the SNP has urged.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has said the time was right to look at whether the correct events were protected.

The list of so-called sporting "Crown Jewels" was last reviewed 10 years ago when Test match cricket was removed.

The SNP said it was a "disgrace" that Scotland's football matches were only available on subscription television.

None of Scotland's qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup is being shown on terrestrial channels.

Alex Salmond has criticised broadcasters such as BBC Scotland and STV for not showing Scotland's international football matches live.

In a hard-hitting speech, the first minister said Scotland's qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup would not be shown on terrestrial channels.

He told the Royal Television Society in Glasgow that England's home matches would be shown on the BBC in Scotland.

He said this was an "extraordinary and frankly unacceptable" position.

National events

Mr Salmond said: "Let me simply say that when it comes to getting the national team back onto the screens of all our citizens - it can be done and it should be done."

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