Friday, 31 July 2009

BBC in Scotland football TV plea

BBC in Scotland football TV plea

Scotland football action
Sky and Setanta have been broadcasting Scotland's matches

The BBC has asked the government to guarantee that future Scotland football internationals are broadcast on terrestrial television.

The BBC Trust has made a submission to the Department of Culture Media and Sport, (DCMS) regarding events it would like to be added to the "A-list".

The list included "the live nations home and away qualifiers for the World Cup and European Championships".

The SFA's Gordon Smith has said such a move would kill Scottish football.

The BBC Trust said ring-fencing the matches to make them available to a terrestrial audience "strikes a balance between public sentiment and market impact."

But SFA chief executive Gordon Smith was reported by the Sunday Mail on 25 July to have written to his counterparts at the FA in London on the issue.

Mr Smith said Scottish football could not afford to accept the lower fees which are offered by terrestrial broadcasters.

The paper said his letter stated: "Scottish football cannot afford to lose this amount of money and be expected to continue to exist."

The BBC Audience Council for Scotland said in its annual report 2009 that one of its priorities for 2009/2010 was "to recommend to the DCMS that Scottish national football be listed for free-to-air transmission".

The government is reviewing the listing system for the first time since 1998.

The BBC's additions to the list include home nation football qualifiers for World Cups and European Championships in the respective nations.

Wales Six Nations and autumn rugby internationals are also on the proposed list of protected events.

The government announced an independent review into the events on the free-to-air list last year, with former Football Association chief executive David Davies appointed as the review's chairman.

The review panel's findings are expected to be announced in the autumn.

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