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UEFA lifts UK TV blackout ban

Uefa has lifted the ban on showing games starting at 3 pm on a Saturday live on TV in England and Scotland.

The move comes after requests from the Football Association and the Scottish Football Association amid the ongoing suspension of football.

It is seen as the first move towards restarting some domestic competitions in the UK behind closed doors.

The blackout has long been in place during the English and Scottish seasons since the sixties to protect stadium attendances.

In a statement, Uefa said: “Uefa has lifted the ‘blocked hours’ protection granted to England and Scotland for the remainder of the 2019-20 season following requests from the relevant national associations”

Yesterday, Claret and Hugh wrote a piece called Football broadcasting could change forever predicting this exact move and suggesting once changed it would be unlikely to return to normal changing the viewing habits of domestic football viewers to match those of outside the UK.

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About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

11 comments on “UEFA lifts UK TV blackout ban

  1. There seems to have been a fundamental misunderstanding of what this UEFA ruling means. Based on one Times reporter’s guesswork everybody appears to think that this guarantees that 3pms will be shown live when football eventually returns whereas the truth is probably the opposite thanks to the lifting of the restrictions yesterday.

    Let me explain:
    Before yesterday’s request, and as things already stood, there would have been no restrictions on 3pms being shown live when/if football returns over the summer because the restrictions were only in place up until the first weekend in May.

    Blackout hours are applied for at the beginning of each season when the FAs in question nominate the weekends they wish them to be applied to and submit these weekends to UEFA. They can only be requested for the duration of the season (August to May) – and even during the season they do not usually apply during international breaks.

    What happened yesterday is that the restrictions that had been applied for to the end of the 2019/20 season – ie the first weekend in May – have been lifted at the request of our FAs so that they can presumably be kept in reserve and reapplied over the summer months. Otherwise the request was pointless.

    As the FAs obviously believe these restrictions are necessary to protect attendances at lower league football, then at this time, more than any other, teams in the lower leagues need to be able to attract as many paying customers as possible so it appears that they wish to have the restrictions reapplied if/when football returns.

    FAs would usually have to jump through hoops to get their nominated weekends changed which explains the wording in the press release from UEFA about extraordinary circumstances.

    • John.
      The key here is season or date.
      When applying for the blackouts do they specify ‘until the end of 2019-20 season’ OR do they state ‘until mid May’ ????

      • Hi Kieran,

        They specify each Saturday over the season, with certain exceptions which are always indcated.

        The specific dates for this season ended on May 9th in England and May 2nd in Scotland


        Some people are also getting excited that this ruling is universal and ongoing. The press release specifically said the restrictions that were in place to the end of this season ONLY have been removed.

  2. Sorry if i seem a bit slow , Sean . But what exactly does all that mean ?.
    TV and it’s consequences has always confused me to a certain extent .

    • It paves the way for broadcasters to show any football match on TV within the UK at 3pm on Saturday

      • The restrictions have only been lifted “for the rest of this season” ie to the second week in May. As I’ve detailed, any games taking place between the second week in May and the start of the next season were not subject to the restrictions anyway so there was no point in requesting the removal of restrictions if they did not intend to reapply them when football resumes. UEFA are usually very strict about moving / lifting / adding dates which is why they referred to “exceptional circumstances” in their press release yesterday.

        • It will open the flood gates and genie will be out of the bottle never to return is my prediction

          • That’s another debate, but the only reason for the request to lift the present dates was so that they can be reapplied when football returns with crowds. There was no other logical reason for them to do so as nothing is affected. Chairmen of lower league clubs firmly believe this rule works so it’s unlikely to disappear any time soon.

      • Thanks for that , Sean .
        So in reality we can expect an almighty war between broadcasters for the rights to bring any football match to our screens . It will be bedlam if you consider utube ect ect .
        It could result in less income from TV for clubs eventually !.
        Have I got that right ??

        • The rights are already sold for (the rest of) this season so there will be no bidding war, whether or not the restrictions are reapplied when the season returns.

          Again, to clarify, it is only for the remainder of THIS season that the restrictions have been removed – and those restrictions were only in place until May anyway.

          The FA and club chairmen in this country (rightly or wrongly) firmly believe that the restrictions protect their income – there is no appetite to remove them altogether.

  3. For clarification on the above UEFA dates here is the link detailing the restricted hours as they stood (up until May 2nd in Scotland and up until May 9th in England)

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