Football: Watch for free, live on the Internet

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TOMORROW'S EURO 2000 qualifier between Scotland and England will make broadcasting history when it becomes the first football match to be screened live on the Internet.

Sky Sports, which will be the only broadcaster to show the game live on television, has also secured the Internet rights to the game and will screen it free of charge on its web site.

Anyone living in the United Kingdom with a home computer and an Internet connection will be able to log on to the site and watch the game as it happens, having first downloaded a free "media player" - which enables the computer to show moving pictures - from the web site. The only cost to viewers will be the local call charges to connect to their Internet service provider.

The action will be shown via a screen just a couple inches square and is liable to be jerky unless the viewer's computer has a high-speed modem.

"Realistically it's going to be a standard Internet streaming feed," Andrew Sholl of Sky said yesterday. "But then it's not television. These are early days for the technology but we're moving on it. And as the match is not live terrestrial TV and of immense interest, it's a good game to start with."

Sky has the rights to show the game only in the UK. Computer users outside the UK and Ireland will not be able to watch on the net because BT and UUNet (the companies carrying the feed) will only serve computers based in the UK and Ireland.