Scottish FA oppose plans by EFL to scrap traditional 3pm TV blackout

Scottish FA will oppose plans by English Football League to scrap traditional 3pm TV blackout in a bid to safeguard attendances and protect grassroots participation in Scotland

  • The EFL are ready to make every match available for live broadcast in 2024-25
  • Currently games can’t be screened between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday
  • Scotland’s stance would pose London-based broadcaster a logistical problem

The Scottish FA will oppose any attempt by the English Football League to scrap the traditional 3pm television blackout.

The EFL have invited interested broadcasters and media companies to suggest new ways of presenting the league on television and streaming platforms from the 2024-25 season, when their current deal with Sky Sports runs out.

One of the options being discussed is to lift the current ban on screening matches live between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday.

The EFL are ready to live broadcast every match and bring an end the 3pm Saturday blackout

Article 48 of the UEFA statutes allows the English FA and their Scottish counterparts to block live coverage of domestic or foreign matches between the two-and-a-half hour slot on a Saturday to safeguard attendances lower down the pyramid and protect grassroots participation.

Preparing to enter negotiations with interested broadcasters, English Football League chief commercial officer Ben Wright says all options are on the table – including the lifting of the blackout hours.

With the Scottish football pyramid heavily reliant on gate income as its lifeblood, Sportsmail has learned that the SFA will stand against any attempt to do so.

If a deal is struck, all matches in England’s lower three professional leagues will be screened

While the EFL can reach a unilateral decision to scrap an arrangement which dates back to the 1960s, any fixtures broadcast in the English Championship, League One or League Two between 2.45 and 5.15 could not be beamed into Scottish homes unless Hampden relented.

Should Sky strike a deal to buy up EFL rights in return for the blackout hours being dropped, Scotland’s stance would pose the London-based broadcaster a logistical problem.

A potential workaround for the English Football League is to move more fixtures to a slot out with the existing blackout hours and show the games live or on pay-per-view.

Sources believe that talk of scrapping the blackout hours is an opening position designed to bring potential new parties to the negotiating table.

An invitation to bid for live TV rights in the EFL is set to be handed out to interested parties

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