A DECISION to allow live broadcasts of English Premier League football matches at 3pm on Saturdays will be “disastrous” for Scottish clubs, an MP will warn on Tuesday.
Dunfermline and West Fife Labour MP Thomas Docherty will issue his warning in a debate in parliament which he has called following a decision by the broadcasters’ watchdog Ofcom to review rights to Premier League matches.
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The review came after Virgin Media complained about the current rights and has raised the question of ending the ban on showing English Premier League games at 3pm.
Following concerns raised by Supporters Direct, Mr Docherty will use his debate to call on Ofcom categorically rule out any proposal to allow broadcasters to show live Premier League games in Scotland at 3pm on Saturdays.
Mr Docherty, whose seat includes Dunfermline Athletic is seeking assurances from Ofcom that it will not allow the integrity of Scottish football and lower leagues in the rest of the UK to be compromised by the unfair competition of live Premier League broadcasts.
He will say: “Supporters groups and clubs right across the UK are concerned by any suggestion that Premier League games could be shown live anywhere at 3pm on Saturdays.
“Many fans in Scotland have a ‘second’ team in the Premier League in England. It would be disastrous for Scottish clubs if fans were to watch live games on TV rather supporting their own clubs through the turnstiles.
“The English FA has already objected to the idea of showing live games in England, I hope that the SFA do the same on behalf of the Scottish game.”
However, a spokesman for Ofcom provided reassurance saying that it will not change the Saturday afternoon rule.
He said that in a briefing to MPs the watchdog said: “No, we are not looking at the FA’s rule preventing broadcast of games during the Saturday afternoon window.”
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