Football: FA infuriated BSkyB's Gascoigne ploy

THE relationship between the Football Association and BSkyB was seriously jeopardised in the High Court yesterday when the Premier League's new paymaster was granted an injunction allowing it to broadcast Paul Gascoigne's debut for Lazio against Tottenham live from Rome tonight.

The FA is furious, not to say embarrassed, and feels so strongly about BSkyB's actions it is ready to back out of a long-term agreement with the satellite company for the rights to show the FA Cup and England internationals.

Supported by the associations of Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the FA objected to the broadcast, to safeguard the interests of the home clubs involved in tonight's 18 Coca-Cola second-round ties. It cited Uefa's Article 14, which permits a home authority to veto any broadcast into its own country from abroad. Mr Justice Laws, however, ruled it was in restraint of trade.

As the founding fathers of the Premier League, the FA had entered into a lucrative partnership with BSkyB. The two sides were moving towards a five-year deal for coverage of the FA Cup and England games. Now, six weeks into the season, they find themselves on opposite sides in court.

Trevor Phillips, commercial director of the FA, said: 'I am at a total loss to understand the motives of BSkyB. How they can put the value of a long-term relationship with us against a short-term meaningless friendly is beyond me.

'Because of what has happened I am now exceedingly nervous about entering into a lengthy agreement with someone who does not hesitate to take me to court and doesn't even have the courtesy to notify me.

'It is no basis for trust or an alliance. And I know that the other television stations, BBC and ITV, would not have acted in this way. Traditionally they respect the agreements between the football authorities that certain domestic weeks have to be kept free of live football.'

Trust Gazza. After a long and tortuous road back from injury it was surely asking too much to expect his comeback would be a smooth one, and even before he attempts to kick a ball with the damaged right leg that will be the focus of all attention in the Olympic Stadium, controversy is once more only one step behind.

This time, though, the row is none of his making. BSkyB, in anticipation that the friendly with his former club would validate his fitness, his availability for his Serie A debut on Sunday against Genoa, and his readiness to return for England in next month's first World Cup qualifying tie with Norway, was determined to show it even if it meant riding through football's regulations.

The Football League found irony in a situation where it was also attempting to safeguard Premier League clubs, whose gates might be affected by a live broadcast by their TV supporters.

'Regardless of whether the game is a friendly, and regardless of it appearing on a satellite channel, the fact is that we are concerned about a live match going out in direct opposition to a full list of domestic fixtures,' the League's broadcasting chief, Lee Walker, said.

'I asked the FA at the end of the week whether the correct procedure had been followed. They said it hadn't but that if an application was made (to screen the match live) then it would be refused.'

Two seasons ago Hearts were fined pounds 60,000 by Uefa when they featured in a live match without permission. Earlier this season, the FA ran into trouble with the Scottish FA over BSkyB broadcasting the Charity Shield live north of the border.

In this instance the FA will complain to Uefa about the Italian FA's involvement. In addition the FA are hinting that the Premier League might take its own action against Spurs.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
film
News
people
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Manufacturing Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a rare opportunity for ...

Recruitment Genius: Conveyancing Fee Earner / Technical Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Fee Earner/Techn...

Recruitment Genius: Receptionist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This law firm is seeking a happy, helpful and ...

The Jenrick Group: Production Supervisor

£26000 - £29000 per annum + Holidays & Pension: The Jenrick Group: Production ...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'