BBC claims England v Scotland

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BBC Television, which had a 1995 it would prefer to forget when it came to losing contracts for big sporting occasions, will be screening the most eagerly awaited football match of the European Championship finals this summer.

It will show England's match against Scotland at Wembley on 15 June while ITV will have coverage of both England's and Scotland's opening matches, plus the probable deciding games in the group: Scotland versus Switzerland and England against the Netherlands. All these matches will be screened live.

"The game has captured the imagination of football fans north and south of the border," Brian Barwick, head of production for BBC TV sport, said of the England v Scotland confrontation.

"It's a massive match, the focus of the opening round. I feel confident the game will attract a similar audience to the near 17 million who watched the 1990 World Cup semi-final between England and West Germany on BBC."

The contract for Euro 96, the biggest international sporting occasion to take place in England since the 1966 World Cup, was secured several years ago before BSkyB was able to flex its financial muscle. As a result terrestrial television will have a monopoly, acting as broadcaster both domestically and around the world.

ITV's head of football, Jeff Farmer, said: "We negotiated a sensible arrangement with the BBC and I am delighted with ITV's package." The event starts with England v Switzerland at Wembley on 8 June - which will be screened by ITV - and reaches a climax on 30 June, when both BBC and ITV will cover the final live.

The BBC will have first choice of the quarter-finals when the competition reaches its knock-out phase but, if either Scotland or England reach the semi-finals, it is probable both TV companies will provide coverage. There will be no duplication of live games until the final stages and each broadcaster has the first option to screen highlights of matches they have not covered live.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP Television schedule: BBC: 9 June: Germany v Czech Republic, Denmark v Portugal. 10 June: Romania v France. 11 June: Italy v Russia. 13 June: Switzerland v Netherlands. 14 June: Portugal v Turkey. 15 June: England v Scotland. 16 June: Croatia v Denmark. 18 June: France v Bulgaria; Romania v Spain. 19 June: Russia v Czech Republic; Italy v Germany. ITV: 8 June: England v Switzerland. 9 June: Spain v Bulgaria. 10 June: Netherlands v Scotland. 11 June: Turkey v Croatia. 13 June: Bulgaria v Romania. 14 June: Italy v Czech Republic. 15 June: France v Spain. 16 June: Russia v Germany. 18 June: England v Netherlands; Scotland v Switzerland. 19 June: Croatia v Portugal; Turkey v Denmark.

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