by Steve Beasant on 19 July, 2013
The European Court of Justice yesterday rejected a legal appeal by Fifa and Uefa, ruling that World Cup and European Championship football matches must remain free-to-air TV events.
Fifa and Uefa wanted matches not featuring England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland to be sold off to pay-per-view channels.
Yesterday’s ruling upheld a 2011 decision by the European General Court that the UK could keep World Cup and European Championship football matches on a list of free-to-air sporting events.
Liberal Deomocrat MEP for South East England Sharon Bowles in the European Parliament and has a long record of supporting the rights of football fans, said:
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“I am delighted that British football fans will be able to watch World Cup and European Championship football matches on free-to-air TV channels.
“Fifa and Uefa already make a lot of money from fans. It would have been very sad if one of the world’s biggest sporting competitions, the World Cup, became a pay-per-view event, available only to those who could afford it.
“Significant global sporting events, such as the Olympics and the World Cup, should always be free to view and I am delighted that the European Courts agree. Although Fifa and Uefa do need to be able to earn a good income, sport at this level should be more than just a money-making operation which excludes loyal fans.
“I am glad that Britain’s EU membership has safeguarded our right to enjoy future World Cups without paying a premium.”