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MPs criticise loss of free-to-air Champions League coverage

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Almost 30 MPs have signed a motion criticising UEFA for giving Champions League coverage exclusively to pay-for TV broadcasters from next season.

In the UK, live Champions League coverage, including highlights, will exclusively be behind BT Sport’s paywall and unavailable on free-to-air television until at least the 2020-21 season, when its current deal expires.

Now MPs have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament calling on the Government to add UEFA Champions League matches to the list of events requiring free-to-air coverage.

The EDM also calls on the European Commission to investigate UEFA’s rights sale for any breaches of European competition law.

John Grogan MP who authored the motion said: “It is sad that Europe’s greedy football bosses have decided to put their most prestigious tournament totally behind a paywall.

“The Champions League anthem will sound a little hollow next year with much of Europe unable to hear it.

“The Government and the European Commission both have powers to step in.”

The EDM says that having Champions League coverage requiring a subscription fee will drastically cut the competition’s potential audience in the UK.

BT Sport’s current viewership is a quarter of that which used to watch on terrestrial TV, the motion claims. In the meantime, MPs are urging BT Sport to offer a highlights package to a free-to-air channel, at a ‘reasonable price’.

This season’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, on Saturday 26th May, will be made free-to-air by BT Sport.

Thanks to PA Images for the image used in this article.

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