SFA unhappy over live coverage of Scotland game

Television officials and football authorities are on a collision course over live coverage of next month's Scotland World Cup game in Latvia.

BBC Scotland have bought rights to show the match live on the afternoon of Saturday, 5 October. But if they go ahead they will incur the wrath of the Scottish football authorities with a Bell's First, Second and Third Division programme planned for the same day.

The Scottish Football Association insist that, under a Uefa rule, there should be no live transmission of matches on a Saturday afternoon between 1pm and 6pm. The Scottish League also want live coverage blocked.

However, BBC Scotland's Mike Abbott said: "We have bought rights to show the game live via an agent acting for the Latvian FA. We believe it is a game the nation will want to see and we intend to screen it and the fixture against Estonia in Tallinn on the following Wednesday.

"We have done the deal for the Latvia match and have a Grandstand programme scheduled around it.

"As far as I am concerned, any problem there might be is football's. What about last night when Aston Villa were on live up against Coca-Cola Cup football in England and a First Division game in Scotland?

"We are into a free market in my view and what can they do to stop us? We bought the rights in good faith so if anyone is in trouble with Uefa it will be the Latvian authorities who sold the rights."

The BBC were heavily criticised for not showing live Scotland's opening World Cup qualifier, a goalless draw with Austria in Vienna in August.

"That was down to budget," Abbott said. "We have always said we will do international matches as and when we can and I can assure you covering games from Latvia and Estonia is not the simplest exercise."

The SFA says it has had no request to screen the Latvia match live and that, if forthcoming, it would be blocked.

The kick-off in Riga against Latvia is 2pm British time with Scottish games due to kick off an hour later at home.

The Scottish League secretary, Peter Donald, said: "It cannot be on live under article 14 of the Uefa rulebook which does not permit screenings on Saturday afternoons.

"There is a full programme in the First, Second and Third Divisions in Scotland that day and it would clearly not be in their interests if the national team were on television in opposition."

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