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Last Updated: Monday, 12 June 2006, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Fans bitter over match screening
A public screening of the game
Birmingham councillors changed the venue for big match screenings
Birmingham City Council has stood by its move not to show England matches on free big screens despite fans missing England's opening World Cup goal.

A group of fans from Staffordshire were among those who gathered to watch Saturday's game on the free screen in Chamberlain Square in the city centre.

Minutes before kick-off the big screen switched without warning to the tennis.

The council had ruled it wouldn't show live matches on free BBC screens like other cities, due to fears of violence.

A city council spokesman said the game was shown on screens at Millennium Point, which was a better location.

'Not happy'

A group of eight fans who had travelled 20 miles (32 km) from Tamworth to watch England's first game in the competition against Paraguay, had gathered with fellow fans in Chamberlain Square.

However around 15 minutes before kick-off, coverage switched to the French Open tennis, forcing the group of friends to scramble to find a pub showing the match.

We finally got in a pub about 12 minutes into the game and missed the goal
Chris Stimson, England fan

Chris Stimson, 18, from Tamworth, said: "We went to three or four pubs before there was one we could get into.

"We finally got in a pub about 12 minutes into the game and missed the goal. I'm not happy."

Birmingham City Council's past policy of providing free screenings of England games in the heart of the city was reversed following trouble during the Euro 2004 tournament.

It said live matches would not be shown on the BBC screen outside the city's library or in nearby Centenary Square.

Outdoor World Cup screenings are now being held just outside the city centre at a "fan park" in Millennium Point, and fans are charged 3.50 to watch the game.

Other cities around the country showed the England match on free outdoor screens.

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: "We have publicised these facilities extensively, so we would have hoped that fans knew that was where to go."

City bans World Cup free screens
15 Mar 06 |  West Midlands


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