Eleven Sports defies UK blackout rule with Barcelona broadcast

2 October 2018 | Broadcasting & New Media
Eleven Sports defies UK blackout rule with Barcelona broadcast
Broadcaster provided live coverage of Saturday game despite FA rules.

International broadcaster Eleven Sports has defied a Football Association (FA) law that prohibits the broadcasting of live soccer on Saturday afternoons in the UK, by showing live coverage of Barcelona’s match against Athletic Bilbao at the weekend.

Current FA rules state that matches on Saturdays between 2.45pm and 5.15pm cannot be broadcast live in the United Kingdom in order to protect match attendances in its domestic leagues.

However, Eleven Sports decided to broadcast the match live despite its 3.15pm kick-off.

The optional UEFA regulation is only currently enforced in England, Scotland and Montenegro, and has stood in the UK since the 1960s.

The broadcaster has previously voiced its opposition over the matter, releasing a statement on its website back in August after being forced to not broadcast the opening 15 minutes of Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut for Juventus, which fell within the blackout timeframe.

It read: ‘No other countries outside the UK and Montenegro apply this rule. We disagree with it and we will continue to challenge it with the best interests of our customers at heart.’

Meanwhile, Eleven Sports did abide by the rules with regards to Saturday’s Rome derby between Roma and Lazio – which started at 2pm – by showing the game ‘as live’ from 5.15pm.

The online streaming platform is set to show coverage of Udinese vs Juventus from the 15-minute mark due to the regulations next weekend.

Barcelona, meanwhile, were held to a 1-1 draw against opponents Bilbao, as they went a third league game without a win following their perfect start to the season.

The current LaLiga champions take on Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League later this week at Wembley Stadium.

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