Shaky debut for pay-per-no-view

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The Independent Football

U>DIRECT, the company that supplied Wednesday's World Cup qualifier between England and Finland live on pay-per-view television, denied yesterday that it was to blame for technical faults that meant a lot of people missed the game despite having paid £9.99 to watch it.

U>DIRECT, the company that supplied Wednesday's World Cup qualifier between England and Finland live on pay-per-view television, denied yesterday that it was to blame for technical faults that meant a lot of people missed the game despite having paid £9.99 to watch it.

Many supporters found they had no picture or that it was interrupted shortly after the match began. A spokesman for Whitbread breweries added that "a substantial number" of its 400 pubs - which had paid £140 each to screen the game - were unable to provide the game.

"We didn't have any wholesale problems at u>direct," said Roger Hall, the pay-per-view channel's managing director. Hall admitted, however, that there were "one or two problems with isolated customers, mainly those who phoned very late and left it to the last minute to register." He added: "In the same way that u>direct wouldn't have been responsible for something going wrong on the BBC, nor would we be responsible for something going wrong on another broadcast platform."

A spokesman for ONdigital said: "People on all the platforms had some problems, and quite a lot of pubs had problems through satellite. We had a lot of new pay-per-view customers who had not used the service before and had to be talked through the process."

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