BBC explain Bradford City snub... and what was on instead of the game?

Broadcaster drew criticism for failing to show shock win over Sunderland

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The Independent Online

Bradford City produced their second shock of the FA Cup this season when they beat Sunderland 2-0 at Valley Parade yesterday.

Unfortunately, only the 24,000 inside the stadium got to see it live.

The BBC drew considerable criticism on Sunday for deciding to air Aston Villa's win over Leicester instead of Phil Parkinson's side, who had beaten Jose Mourinho's Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the previous round.

Both teams were dreadful at Villa Park in the first-half, before a Tim Sherwood team-talk inspired the home side to victory in the second period.

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker briefly explained why Bradford had not been picked on Twitter, but today Mark Cole, BBC Sport's football editor, went one further.

"The hardest thing is that both the BBC and BT have to make our selections before the outcome of replays," wrote Cole in a blog on the BBC website.

"That's the only reason why Phil Parkinson's side didn't get a live match this time round. We had to weigh up the options and given Sunderland's recent form, thought it was a realistic possibility of the match being League One against a Championship side.

"In this case it wouldn't have been much of a shock whatever the result and the winners would be guaranteed a live Quarter-Final, as Reading have done by progressing at Derby.

"If Bradford definitely had a home tie against Premier League opposition we certainly would have chosen to have the match live on BBC One. That has been a big part of our policy so far, showing AFC Wimbledon, Cambridge, Bristol City and tonight Preston, all looking to overcome opposition from the top flight.

"As the game unfolded yesterday at Valley Parade, we shared the frustration of fans and would have loved to have been broadcasting the match live. It's everything the FA Cup and our new comprehensive coverage is about. We are speaking to the FA about whether we can change this in the future, but understand it's tricky for them."

stead.jpg
Jon Stead celebrates scoring Bradford's second goal

Cole added that it's been great for those without subscription sports channels to see Alexis Sanchez, Angel Di Maria and other international stars, while the game was the first match and shown extensively on Match of the Day.

He added: "Despite some of the criticism coming out of Bradford, a lot of thought goes into the matches we pick, and I hope the selections outlined above show we are particularly keen to showcase clubs outside the Premier League....

"When we sit down tomorrow morning to pick our two matches for the Quarter-Final we will take all I've discussed into consideration, but the good news is that all four matches will be live on TV. That means Bradford's incredible heroics over the last five rounds have guaranteed them a money-spinning Quarter-Final game and boy do Bantams fans deserve it!"

What were we watching instead?

Had the BBC selected the game it would have gone into the 12.15 - 2.30pm slot that saw Aston Villa beat Leicester.

With the game getting a later 2.30pm kick-off, BBC One had switched to its Six Nations coverage of Scotland vs Wales at Murrayfield.

Escape to the Country, Open All Hours, To the Manor Born and Hi-de-Hi! were shown on BBC Two from 2.30 - 4.45pm.

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