BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Thursday September 11 2008 13:45 GMT

Fans miss out on World Cup action

Football being shown on TV screens

It was a big night for the Home Nations as they continued their bids to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, but loads of you couldn't watch any of the action.

That's because all the games were shown on TV channels you have to pay for through satellite, cable or freeview.

As England, Scotland and Wales played away, the countries hosting those games chose who to sell the TV coverage to.

And Northern Ireland's footie bosses have signed a deal with a satellite channel to show ALL their home matches.

Theo Walcott fact file
Theo Walcott celebrates his hatrick
He's played for Arsenal since 1996
He became England's youngest player when he played against Hungary in May 2006, aged 17 years and 75 days.
He's the youngest England player to score a hat-trick
He was voted BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2006
It means thousands of England fans missed a match that lots of critics have been calling England's best performance for years.

As well as beating Croatia 4-1, Theo Walcott emerged as a rising star, scoring a hat-trick to help his side to victory.

And some Scottish fans missed George Burley enjoying his first win as Scotland's manager after they beat Iceland 2-1.

Elsewhere, Northern Ireland held on for a 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic while Wales lost a hard fought battle with Russia, 2-1.

What now?

Older fans could watch the matches in a pub if they didn't have access to the channels at home, but that doesn't help you lot.

So is anything being done to stop it happening in the future?

Footie Quiz
A football being kicked into a net
A satellite channel has already got the rights to broadcast the rest of England's away qualifier matches.

The British Government says it does what it can to make sure big sporting events are free for all TV viewers, and if whole matches can't be shown it tries to arrange for the highlights to be shown.

But apart from the World Cup finals and FA Cup final, it said: "Sports bodies are free to decide which broadcasters to sell rights to and it is for broadcasters, not Government, to decide which sports to bid for."