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The Blackout

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Football fans know that the Scottish FA and SPFL making a pigs ear of issues is a given at the best of times whether it be the constant half-hearted attempts to restructure the leagues or allowing Willie Collum to referee a game of football, the years of disappointments has left many of us expecting the worst and hope for the mediocre – but for me this past week the powers that be reached a new low.

Last Tuesday we saw three of the most intriguing ties of the season coming in the Scottish Cup, we had the replays of both the Edinburgh derby and the clash between Championship leaders Rangers and Premier league underachievers Kilmarnock. This was also added to by the blockbuster night of entertainment we had the Premier League tussle between rock bottom Dundee United and fellow strugglers Motherwell in a must game for both as they battle against relegation.

So which of these mouth-watering ties were the Scottish football fans treated to on the telly? None.

For those who don’t know, UEFA [the European football governing body]has decreed that no European football nation should be allowed to play domestic matches on the same night or day as the premier European club competition on the grounds that it will have the possibility of taking possible TV and advertising revenue away from the competition, in other words greed, they even have it written into a European Law which if you wish you can cast your eyes over but I wouldn’t advise it unless you wish to be sent to sleep here is in this link:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32003D0778&from=EN

Now many of you may be wondering why I am laying the blame at the Scottish powers that be and the reason is this. They agreed to it!

The European governing body cares little for the Scottish game or any of the smaller nations and has even muted the possibility of a closed Champions League in recent months which would stop the nations of Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Holland from even having teams represented in Europe’s Premier competition and allow the bigger leagues to take more money for themselves.

What are our representatives doing about it? Nothing. There is silence.

So when this mouth-watering night of Scottish Football came around rather than upset those at the head of Europe governing body and incur a fine the SFA thought it would be easier to impose a TV and radio blackout which stopped anyone showing or covering the games in real-time, thankfully a little bit of sanity prevailed as it was decided at the last minute that radio coverage would be allowed to broadcast all three games – so if radio was allowed why not TV?

But why schedule such games on a Champions League night anyway? Knowing full well that none of them could be broadcast. This is arguably the biggest failure of the governing body who knew well in advance when the Champions League games were to be played and could have scheduled the replays and league game accordingly.

periscope-phoneBecause of this failure, it was left to the fans themselves to broadcast the games to their fellow supporters and Scottish football as a whole – using the phone app Periscope – to broadcast games to tens of thousands of viewers for FREE – albeit illegally under the rules governing our game.

So while the fans are continuing to be short changed by their own clubs, and the governing bodies along with the TV companies scheduling games without a care for the travelling supporters – all we as fans can do is hope that they will one day listen to us and do something to stop this farce happening again and again.

I for one won’t be holding my breath.

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