Football: BSkyB thwarted by Jackson

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THE first live televised match of football's new era will be Liverpool's visit to Nottingham Forest on Sunday 16 August, with the coverage coming from BSkyB but the choice of game owing more to Michael Jackson and the West Yorkshire police, writes Matthew Tench.

BSkyB, the satellite channel which paid pounds 304m to cover live games in the Premier League, originally wanted to make Leeds's home match with Wimbledon their first live offering, but the local police force vetoed the proposal because Jackson is appearing in concert on the same day at Roundhay Park, a few miles from Elland Road. With cycling's Wincanton Classic also taking place on that Sunday the police were worried about traffic problems.

Premier League officials then examined the possibility of switching the game to Friday night, but this was ruled out by the police, because the agreement with the football authorities stipulates that the first and last matches of every League season must be played on Saturdays.

Leeds will now make their televised Premier League debut three weeks later when they visit Manchester United. Manchester City's home game with Queen's Park Rangers will be the second live match, on Monday 17 August.

------------------------------------------------------------ LIVE PREMIER LEAGUE GAMES ------------------------------------------------------------ Sunday 16 Aug Nottm Forest v Liverpool Monday 17 Aug Manchester City v QPR Sunday 23 Aug Liverpool v Arsenal Monday 24 Aug Southampton v Man Utd Sunday 30 Aug Ipswich Town v Tottenham Monday 31 Aug Norwich City v Nottm Forest Sunday 6 Sept Man Utd v Leeds Utd Monday 7 Sept Middlesbrough v Sheff Utd Sunday 13 Sept Leeds Utd v Aston Villa Monday 14 Sept Coventry City v Tottenham Sunday 20 Sept Manchester City v Chelsea Sunday 27 Sept Sheffield Wed v Tottenham Monday 28 Sept Arsenal v Manchester City Sunday 4 Oct Oldham Athletic v Everton Sunday 18 Oct Manchester Utd v Liverpool Monday 19 Oct Aston Villa v Blackburn Sunday 25 Oct Wimbledon v Tottenham Sunday 1 Nov Aston Villa v QPR Monday 2 Nov Crystal Palace v Arsenal Sunday 8 Nov Sheff Utd v Sheff Wed Monday 23 Nov QPR v Liverpool Monday 7 Dec Everton v Liverpool Monday 21 Dec Norwich City v Ipswich Town ------------------------------------------------------------ Kick-off times: Sunday, 4pm; Monday between 7.30 and 8pm ------------------------------------------------------------