Football: EU attack on pay television

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The Independent Online
European Union officials have strongly criticised the trend which has seen crucial football matches - such as Saturday's World Cup qualifier between England and Italy - move to pay television stations.

That trend is likely to continue with Fifa, the sport's world governing body, planing to limit guaranteed free and live transmission of 2002 World Cup to just four of the 64 games.

"People should have access free of charge," the European Union Commissioner Karel Van Miert said. "I really cannot imagine that people would only be able to receive such events through pay television." The 15 EU nations are expected to approve proposals that would guarantee EU citizens the right to watch major sporting events live and free on television.

l Uefa has split the fixtures for the fifth round of the Champions' League games into two nights. With no Cup-Winners' Cup matches scheduled for Thursday 27 November, half of the 12 Champions' League games scheduled for Wednesday 26 have been put back 24 hours. Newcastle will visit Barcelona on the Wednesday, while Manchester United will entertain Kosice on the Thursday.