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Ah Feck - El Clásico Won't Be Shown On TV For Frankly Bullshit Reasons

Gavan Casey
By Gavan Casey
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What a load of baloney. The first Clásico of the new La Liga season won't be shown on tv in Ireland or the UK due to British laws dating back to the 1960s.

Broadcasting regulations in the UK dictate that no live football can be shown between 2:45pm and 5:15pm on Saturdays, so as not to detrimentally affect attendances at 3pm kick-offs in England.

Meanwhile, the Spanish FA have opted for a 3:15pm kick-off (UK and Irish time) for their first marquee fixture of the new season on December 4th, explaining that this time garners twice the revenue as others. The 3:15pm kick-off makes the Camp Nou game watchable in America (where La Liga has just opened up a development office), South America, China, and most of Asia. Naturally, these regions significantly outweigh the UK market from a La Liga perspective.

In 2014, Irish and British viewers missed 15 minutes of El Clásico for the same reason, just three years after the European Court of Justice concluded that these "closed periods" do not encourage fans to attend other games whatsoever.

Julian Kokott, attorney general of the ECJ wrote at the time:

It has not been adequately shown to the Court that the closed periods actually encourage attendance at and participation in matches.


In terms of why Irish fans suffer due to an outdated British rule - Irish channels are perfectly entitled to bid for rights, but Sky simply pay too much money for the likes of former La Liga broadcaster TG4 to compete, even in a one-off scenario. This news will doubtless arrive as a great shame to those who remember TG4's Spanish football coverage in the '90s...



And while a select number of 3pm Premier League kick-offs will be shown on Sky Sports Mix for Irish fans this season, this loophole - for now - applies only to Premier League football.




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