Football

Fans' chief outraged by Internet deal

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England supporters' spokesman Mark Perryman has blasted the decision to screen England's forthcoming World Cup qualifier in Ukraine on the internet.

Perryman called on the sport's governing bodies to prevent high-profile matches being forced away from traditional viewing platforms in future.

Perryman said "I find it outrageous. FIFA and UEFA should make it a condition of entry to World Cup and European Championship qualifying campaigns that games must be sold only free-to-air, both to the home market and the away market."

International football agency Kentaro, who were hired by the Ukrainian Football Federation to sell the television rights for Saturday evening's match, have acted following the collapse of Setanta, who held the rights to all of England's away qualifiers prior to entering administration earlier this year.

No mainstream broadcaster in the UK met the Ukrainian federation's asking price to screen the match in Dnipro, leading Kentaro to appoint digital sport specialist Perform to stream the match on the internet.

He added: "Where England fans are being sold short is not in this instance by their own FA, but by foreign FAs selling the game to the highest bidder, and in this instance it's an internet outfit.

"Arguably Ukraine away was the second-toughest of the away games of the campaign and they certainly didn't expect us to beat Croatia 5-1 in the preceding game and go through automatically.

"At 5.15 on a Saturday night, most of the England fans I know will not want to be sitting in front of a computer, even for an England game.

"A computer screen isn't really something you can sit around on the sofa with your family and mates, so I think the viewing figures are going to be low."

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