Broadcaster under pressure
Sky Sports urged to show Old Firm match for free
The Old Firm match is a big test of the regulations (pic: SNS Group)
Sky Sports is under political pressure to show this weekend’s Old Firm match for free to help dissuade football fans travelling south of the border to watch it.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it would be a “small but important contribution” to help “keep people safe”.
Because Glasgow pubs are closed and there is a ban on household visits, fans will only be able to watch the game on the TV if they have a subscription or a weekend pass.
This has encouraged some to plan trips south of the border where they can watch the match in pubs.
Government ministers and the police are strongly advising them not to take this course of action.
The SPFL defended Sky, saying it had paid £125 million for the rights to Scottish football and it would be “unreasonable” for the broadcaster to forfeit revenue from the Old Firm “crown jewels.”
One pub in Blackpool has already made the decision to close its doors this weekend, despite receiving more than 1,500 booking requests to watch the Old Firm match.
The First Minister urged Sky Sports to make the match free to view for supporters, “as a small but important contribution that they could make in helping keep people safe right now”.
This, she said, would enable people to “watch the match in the comfort and the safety of their own home” and would “reduce the temptation to people who don’t have access to pay to view services to go and watch the match somewhere else.”
SPFL chief Neil Doncaster said last night that Sturgeon’s appeal to the broadcaster had not been successful.