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Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Match of the days: Football goes 24/7

While you may sympathise with the BBC over losing the rights to screen English Premier League football, spare a thought for another victim of the system - the football phobe.

Anyone who doesn't count themselves among the soccer-loving masses will be saddened to hear we are in for more televised football in the UK than ever before.

From 2001, ITV is planning a double dose on Saturday before its highlights show on Sunday; Sky will screen up to 66 live games on Sunday and Monday; and newcomer NTL is looking at 40 live pay-per-view matches. (And we haven't even started with the internet yet.)

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The BBC meanwhile has won back rights to show FA Cup matches, with Sky, and both will screen England internationals. Further tenders, to show Worthington Cup and Nationwide first division matches, are still in the pipeline.

But all the indications are that football is heading for coverage 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

So what can we expect when all the new deals come into operation, in August 2001? Judging by the revolution in televised football in recent years, and by the details we already know of the new contracts, those with the full complement of satellite and digital technology are in for a busy week.

Always the biggest day of the week for football, die-hard fans can cram in a wealth of TV match action. ITV kicks off with a morning preview show which, under the new deal, allows the channel to screen three-minute clips of Premiership games.

Then comes a chance to indulge those Continental tastes with Channel 4's round-up of top Italian matches. After the full-time whistle, ITV screens the highlights of three Premiership matches, plus further clips.

Later it's back to Sky for more highlights before rounding the night off with action from top Spanish clubs.

There's no such thing as a day of rest for the football couch potato. Sky offers a double whammy of live action, with a game each from the English and Scottish Premier League.

The traditional Sunday lunch is reduced to a TV dinner thanks to live Italian soccer on Channel 4. Elsewhere, there's more live action with a top match from the Nationwide League and, after 9pm, highlights of two more Premiership games.

Back to work, if you can tear yourself away from the tube. It could be difficult. Channel 5 has highlights from the Dutch league, while Sky offers another live match from the Premiership.

Finally, Eurosport wades in with Eurogoals - a round-up of the week's best goals from European leagues.

You're still at home, but one of our top teams is away in a far-flung European city, in hot pursuit of the Uefa Champions League title. This is where the OnDigital subscription kicks in.

OnSport 2, available only on OnDigital, shares Champions' League matches with ITV. Other options on the remote control will deliver Spanish football (Sky Sports One) and a repeat of Eurogoals (Eurosport).

The football fiesta shows no sign of abating. There's more Champions League action, this time live on ITV. There will probably be some FA Cup replays too. Some of them may go to penalties - another late night.

If Wednesday was a bit lean, today's schedule promises to make up for it. Channel 5, Sky Sports One and Eurosport all have live Uefa Cup matches.

Some of the games don't feature British teams, but still they look positively parochial compared to Argentinean highlights (Channel 5) and ITV's World Football show, which are both screened in the small hours of Friday morning.

The weekend is almost upon us, and that means ... more football. Not that you'll be caught short today. Sky Sports mops up the play in yesterday's Uefa Cup, with a highlights show.

Later there's a return to the domestic game, with a live match from the Nationwide first division.

Watching the post-match punditry, an off-hand comment from Des Lynam snaps you out of this seven-day soccer stupor.

"At the end of the day..." There is no end, one day simply merges in to another.

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See also:

15 Jun 00 | Football
BBC wins back FA Cup
15 Jun 00 | FA Carling Premiership
BBC 'sour' over football deal
15 Jun 00 | Football
Match of the Day in pictures
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