Eleven Sports praised for ignoring controversial football ‘blackout’ rule

Image Credit: Eleven SportsEleven Sports has been praised by La Liga for ignoring a controversial rule that prevents live football from being broadcast in the UK between 2:45pm and 5:15pm on Saturdays.
According to La Liga, which is Spain’s equivalent of the English Premier League, Eleven Sports’ stance could help tackle piracy.
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“This type of blackout doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s from a different age. We are aware of what Eleven Sports are doing and generally support them,” Joris Evers, La Liga’s chief communications officer, told The Times (via SportsPro Media).
“People are used to watching things whenever and wherever they take place, on whatever devices they like. Today many people watch football in other ways, through piracy or video feeds or betting companies. And there are other sports like rugby that are screened at that time on a Saturday.”
Andrea Radrizzani, Eleven Sports’ founder, added: “The rule should be reconsidered. There are betting websites which are showing the game live while we legitimately paid for the rights but cannot show it, according to law 48.
“Also, there are many illegal sites and pirates that we should fight against. So I would love to open a conversation, in a friendly way, to find a solution.
“I would also like to understand why this is competing with ticket sales in UK stadiums. Why not the Tour de France or other events that happen at the same time live on TV?”
The Saturday afternoon blackout, which was introduced the 1960s, was designed to encourage people to attend Saturday afternoon games instead of watching whichever fixtures happened to be on TV at the time.
It’s why most big-name Premier League encounters take place at lunchtime or early evening on Saturdays, or Sunday afternoons or Monday evenings, and why the final day of the season − for the top flight and each of the other Football Leagues − is always a Sunday. Exceptions are made for the FA Cup final.
The blackout is considered to be archaic by many, including Eleven Sports.
“Due to an FA enforced regulation which states that no live football can be broadcast in the UK between 2.45pm-5.15pm on a Saturday, we are prohibited from bringing you pictures from the opening 15 minutes of the Chievo vs Juventus match which kicks off at 5pm today,” it told customers on August 18.
“No other countries outside of the UK and Montenegro apply this rule. We disagree with it and we will continue to challenge it with the best interests of our customers at heart.”
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As TorrentFreak reports, Eleven Sports ignored the rule on September 29 and October 6, and live streamed Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao (which kicked off at 3:15pm UK time) and Getafe vs Levante (which also kicked off at 3:15pm UK time) in full.
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