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BBC outlines match state of play

13 September 07 13:02 GMT

BBC Scotland has responded to criticism after its failure to secure rights to broadcast live television coverage of Scotland's historic win over France.

The Euro 2008 qualifier in Paris, which saw a wonder goal by striker James McFadden, was shown live by satellite broadcaster Sky Sports.

The BBC broadcast coverage of England's match with Russia instead.

A spokesman for BBC Scotland said the corporation had been outbid by Sky for rights to the Scotland game.

BBC Scotland was inundated with more than 100 complaints from fans angry that they were unable to watch the match on terrestrial television.

'Crown Jewels'

One viewer said: "We pay the same licence fee as those in England and we should be allowed to see our matches.

"I believe that the BBC is willing to bid more for the England matches than the Scotland ones and this is unfair."

Another commented: "The British Broadcasting Corporation seems to be turning into the English Broadcasting Corporation, as they only seem to be concerned with their English viewers."

The cost of rights to broadcast major sporting events live has spiralled into six-figure sums and more. The BBC has defended the absence of some of these fixtures from its channels by saying it would not be the most efficient use of licence-fee payers' money.

The BBC Scotland spokesman said qualifying matches for the European Championships and World Cup were not among the so-called "Crown Jewels" of sporting events that must by law be shown on terrestrial channels.

The corporation showed extended highlights of the Scotland game an hour after the final whistle.

The spokesman added: "BBC Scotland attempts to secure live rights for Scotland games where possible and previously we have had full live coverage of away games in the qualifying group, including in Italy and in the Ukraine.

"We have also secured live rights for the away game in Georgia in October, a fixture which is becoming increasingly important in the light of the recent results.

"The rights market is open and on this occasion Sky secured rights for the away game in France."

Events like the FA Cup and Scottish Cup finals, the Olympic Games, World Cup finals and Grand National are protected by law and must be made available on terrestrial channels.

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