UK Government holds Scottish football fans in contempt
A campaigning SNP MP has slammed the UK Government after a Media Minister rejected free access to televised Scotland National Team games for fans.
Gavin Newlands MP met with UK government Minister of State for Media and Data, John Whittingdale MP, earlier this week to explore the possibility of placing Scotland National Team games under listed events legislation, meaning the broadcast rights to these events would be offered to the main free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters.
The Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP left the meeting disappointed, and said the Minister’s attitude and rejection spoke to the UK government’s “disinterest” in the success of the Scotland National Team and the experience of fans.
Mr Newlands and his SNP colleagues have campaigned for years to ensure Scotland fans can enjoy games on terrestrial TV, just as English and Welsh fans can, but with broadcasting law reserved to the UK government, tartan army supporters have been forced to shell out for pay-per-view subscriptions.
It comes in the same week that UK Government plans came to light that would ban bus travelling Scottish football fans from stopping at pubs prior to attending matches.
Commenting, Gavin Newlands MP said:
“In what is an incredibly important week for Scottish football the UK government has shown they couldn’t care less about our game and they hold Scottish football fans in contempt.
“Scotland supporters are being priced out of watching their national team whilst English and Welsh fans can watch their sides for free this weekend.
“I want to see a similar offer for Scotland fans, but it’s clear from my meeting with the Minister that the UK government does not share that desire.
“We are seeing one of the best Scotland sides in decades, with a game on Friday that could be the most important of Scotland’s qualifying campaign, and to inspire the next generation of talent we should not have to get past a paywall to see it.
“For years my SNP colleagues and I have fought to ensure fans can cheer on the Scotland team on their free view TV channels and we are simply met with a shake of the head from the UK government – it speaks volumes about their disinterest in the success of our team and the experience of our fans.
“Whether it’s by imposing draconian restrictions on travelling fans, or ensuring games remain behind extortionate paywalls, it’s crystal clear the UK government are failing Scotland fans, proving beyond doubt that to ensure access for all, and to give our team the backing it deserves, we must have the full powers of independence.”