England fans have reacted angrily to news that their nation’s weekend World Cup qualifier against Ukraine will only be shown live on the internet at a cost of £4.99.
The game was originally to be shown on Setanta after they were sold the rights by international agency Kentaro, however the broadcaster’s collapse means that digital sport specialist Perform will now stream the match online
According to the BBC, none of the conventional broadcasters were willing to meet the asking price to show the game on television.
“You will watch as you would any other streaming on the internet, like YouTube or the BBC iPlayer,” Kentaro managing director Peter Silverstone told BBC.
“There will be a pop-up player that will show the match in a very good quality stream.”
However, Mark Perryman, of the England Fans supporters’ group, has expressed his disgust at the move.
“It’s an outrage,” he said. “Watching football is a social thing.
“To force fans to pay to sit in front of a small computer screen is just not on. The internet is fine for watching highlights of games but not something like this.”
Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said: “This is a worrying development. You’re not going to get people crowding round a computer screen.
“Ideally we would like to see all England matches broadcast free-to-air on TV.”
Sven Goran Eriksson is to form part of the studio team, and those interested in subscribing can do so by logging on to www.ukrainevengland.com
Charges rise from £4.99 to £9.99 for those who subscribe on Thursday and Friday, and £11.99 on Saturday.