Football viewers call the shots

BRITAIN'S FIRST interactive television sports coverage will be broadcast later this month with the Premiership clash between Arsenal and Manchester United on 22 August.

The match will be shown live on the satellite channel Sky Sports Extra and enable viewers to choose camera angles, have instant replays and highlights as well as a choice of statistics by flicking a switch on their remote control. Viewers must subscribe to Sky's digital television service but no other equipment is needed.

Tony Ball, chief executive of BSkyB, said the move would "mark a step- change in the way sport is consumed in this country". Sky plans to offer interactive coverage on all Premier League games after 22 August before expanding the concept to its other football coverage.

In the fight for digital television subscribers, Sky announced yesterday that it had beaten its target with a total of one million digital subscribers - compared with rival ONdigital's 204,000 subscribers.

ONdigital, with ITV, has secured the rights to the European Champions' League. In addition to the Premier League rights, Sky will cover the home fixtures of England clubs in the Uefa Cup.

BSkyB declined to comment yesterday on reports that it was seeking to buy a 9.9 per cent stake in Leeds United.