World Cup play-offs: Scotland World Cup playoff final to be aired for free if Steve Clarke’s side beat Ukraine
Scotland’s World Cup play-off final will be free-to-air – if Steve Clarke's side beat Ukraine first.
Scotland’s semi-final play-off against the Ukrainians, which was due to be played at Hampden Park on March 24, but has been put back to June as a result of the Russian invasion of the country.
The winners will play Wales or Austria to determine a place at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
But speaking before the Scottish Affairs Committee on Monday, Sky’s policy director Ali Law said the game would be made available free of charge on STV if Scotland were to make it to within one win of their first World Cup since 1998.
“When it comes to decisive moments of national importance like the Scotland v Serbia game… where Scotland were a game away from participation at a major championship for the first time in 22 years, we did make that available free to air via our own channel Pick,” Mr Law said.
“It was phenomenally successful and it got 63% of the viewing audience in Scotland that night – around about 1.5 million people.”
He added: “We’ve had discussions with STV and there’s a little bit more detail to work out, but we’re in a position to say that we would adopt the same approach.
“So, if Scotland get to the World Cup qualifying final … we would partner with STV to show that on a free to air basis.”
Mr Law said the move showed that Sky Sports were consistent in their approach to “decisive moments of national importance, including the Cricket World Cup final in 2019.
In November, STV chief executive Simon Pitts said he would look to have discussions with Sky for decisive games to be aired for free.
“Absolutely, we’d be open to having those discussions,” Mr Pitts said at the Scottish Affairs Committee.
“Those discussions have taken place in the past and haven’t led to us showing those games.
“Those are deals that have to work for both parties.”
ut the SNP’s Westminster sports spokesman called for the broadcaster to go further and include the semi-final between Scotland and Ukraine.
“The match, which has rightly been postponed due to the devastating war in Ukraine, will not only be a massive sporting fixture but it will undoubtedly carry more significance as we welcome our Ukrainian friends.
“The SNP has been clear that every Scotland fan must have the chance to watch these matches without the need to pay a subscription fee given the spiralling cost of living crisis.
“But this game will be more than just about sport, given events in Ukraine, and we look forward to welcoming the Ukrainian team and their fans when they visit Hampden.
“I urge Sky Sports to do the right thing and make these games free-to-air.”
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