SNP leadership hopeful Kate Forbes wants more Scotland football games on free TV
and live on Freeview channel 276
She said she would welcome a discussion with broadcasters to see if more of the national men’s football team’s games could be free to air on live television. Earlier this month Westminster’s cross-party Scottish Affairs Committee made a similar call, noting that all of England’s international matches are currently free to view.
Scotland’s men’s team kick off their European Championship qualifying bid at home to Cyprus on Saturday March 25 at Hampden Park, but the game is only available to Viaplay subscribers. However, Scotland’s women’s team matches are currently broadcast live on BBC Alba.
The UK Government has the powers to add matches to its schedule of "listed events”, which are only available to public service broadcasters, and this includes the Scottish and FA Cup finals, the Six Nations, Wimbledon and the World Cup.
Ms Forbes said: “I know that football is more than just a sport, and recent qualifiers show there is huge interest in following both the men’s and women’s national teams. When fans with a freeview set can watch all of England’s games live, it does feel like we are getting a bit of a raw deal. That’s why I’d welcome a conversation with broadcasters to see what can be done to make more games available free to view.
“The cost of living crisis is having a huge impact upon every household across the country, and I wouldn’t be surprised if people felt they were being priced out by costly subscriptions. It’s a shame to have major games like tomorrow’s opener hidden behind a paywall. Though we also have to remember that an independent Scotland would have full powers over broadcasting and could decide on our own free to view ‘listed events’.”