Football: Scottish appeal to Uefa over TV games

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The Independent Online
THE Scottish Football Association has reported its English counterparts to Uefa, the European governing body, for allowing Saturday's Charity Shield match to be broadcast live on BSkyB north of the border.

The FA needs the SFA's consent for any match to be transmitted live in Scotland, permission the SFA says it did not give for the Charity Shield. 'It was transmitted despite the SFA advising the FA that this was against article 14 (of Uefa broadcasting regulations),' David Findlay, of the SFA, said. 'We have reported the FA to Uefa for a breach of article 14. It is now up to Uefa what action they will take. But in the past they have imposed financial penalties on offending parties.'

'The Scots were fully aware of this broadcast and a contract was signed way back,' an FA spokesman said last night. 'Their request to us came only at the last minute, and it was too late in the day to amend the schedules.'

The controversy is certain to colour negotiations between the two sides over BSkyB's live broadcasting of 60 FA Premier League games this season, starting this Sunday with Nottingham Forest v Liverpool.

BSkyB is in bullish mood and determined to show games. With three days to go before the start of the inaugural Premier League the satellite channel is moving into overdrive on the promotional front. Today it launches a pounds 5m advertising campaign to sell the Premier League - and dishes - to the public via a glossy television commercial set to the music of Simple Minds's 'Alive and Kicking'. Vinnie Jones in the shower, Paul Stewart in a Porsche - it is all in there.

BSkyB expects the commercial to set the ball rolling. 'We are preparing for a very high volume of sales,' Gary Davey, BSkyB's deputy managing director and director of programming, said. 'We have been overwhelmed by the response.' No figures have yet been released, although the Financial Times satellite monitor reported a 'modest underlying growth'.

Channel 4's decision to screen live Italian matches on Sundays, along with what ITV shows of the Football League, has added to the range of football on offer for the armchair viewer. The BBC's popular Match Of The Day programme, featuring highlights from two Premier League games, is also returning to its Saturday night slot.

Selling dishes, without which the League could falter, is only one of the problems facing the embryonic league. The elite 22 clubs still have to sign their five- year contract with the Premier League, although Rick Parry, the new League's chief executive, says this is 'hours away'.

Parry was untroubled by the lateness of this official show of agreement, saying: 'The old Football League's agreement with ITV has still not been signed so it's not really a big problem.' Davey added: 'The contract is with the lawyers and it's just a case of them wanting to cross every T and dot every I'

The Premier League ran into trouble with some of the 22 clubs over its proposed sponsorship by Bass, as clubs like Liverpool have deals with rival brewers. But Parry added yesterday that an agreements could be signed today.

Joao Havelange, the Fifa president, is being treated in a private clinic in Zurich for dehydration. According to a Fifa official, the 72-year-old Brazilian, appointed in 1974, was 'completely dehydrated' at the Barcelona Olympics, which prevented him from attending Saturday's football final. Havelange's condition is described as satisfactory and he will remain under observation for a week.

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